What Schitt’s Creek Taught Me About Tech Media Relations

Amanda Lee
May 23, 2023

There are many different notions about effective B2B tech media relations, and it can be a hotly debated topic in the PR industry. Opinions vary on what is considered most important to know, do and say to build a lasting rapport with a reporter and to conclude interviews and briefings on a positive note. Partnering with the media and industry analysts can create great opportunities for your company or client, as well as expand your client’s reach. Correspondence with the media is strengthened by being a valuable resource because it opens a line of communication for that correspondence to continue. If you want your product or company to be talked about, you’ll want to be sure you are establishing and fostering relationships with your targeted media. One of the most effective forms of media outreach is conducting interviews or briefings with target journalists.

The Roses are an iconic and wealthy family forced to leave their opulent lifestyle behind and live alongside an unorthodox group of people in the rural town of Schitt’s Creek (cue the “Eww, David”). So, what can the popular Canadian television sitcom teach us about media relations? While the Rose family does not always employ the most conventional methods when relating to others, there are a few things we can take away from their communication styles, or at the very least avoid, when conducting briefings with media contacts:

“We can talk about this anytime you’d like – Preferably not before 10am, because I’m not really a morning person.”

When determining the best time for a briefing, select a time that works for you. Ideally, this would not be after a meeting that could go long, putting you at risk of being late for the briefing. Also avoid choosing a time when you are likely to be distracted – like driving a car, taking the train or making lunches for your kids. These distractions will restrict you from giving 100% of your attention. Even the most skilled professionals get distracted, so try to select a good time and a good meeting place that allows you to focus. If the meeting is virtual, be sure to find a quiet location that permits strong Wi-Fi and has minimal chance of dropped connections. Good first impressions are the key to positive media relationships, so being fully present during a briefing can go a long way in building and sustaining a strong relationship.

“Being approachable isn’t that important anyway.”

Even if briefings aren’t really your thing, pretend that they are. “Fake it till you make it,” as they say. It’s vital to be approachable and willing to connect with your contact. You aren’t obligated to answer every question they might throw your way, but being welcoming and willing to discuss your company, your goals and your ambitions can make a lasting impression and open up future opportunities. Come prepared with key points, supporting material and any other powerful information that can strengthen your story.

“I would hardly call myself an expert on this subject.”

Practice, practice, practice. A topic is always discussed prior to scheduled meetings, where either the media will provide an idea, or you can during your outreach. Regardless of the lead or topic, there is always time to prepare. Take notes, identify your main 3-4 message points and practice. Mistakes and word slips are far less likely when you come prepared. Don’t let journalists put words in your mouth. Tell the truth. Don’t lie, exaggerate or bluff. Simply saying “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. Remember, you control the narrative.

“I'm very uninterested in that opinion.”

A journalist's time is equally important as yours. Even though you’re the one trying to tell your story and ultimately “sell” your product or get your news out, their questions and thoughts matter, too. They may be working on a story where you can provide a quote or comment, increasing the chances that your company will be included in more than one story. Be sure to actively listen. This will help you avoid providing misleading information or too much unnecessary information. Stay present during the interview and listen carefully to each question so you can use it to your advantage and bridge back to your messaging.

 “Gossip is the devil’s telephone. Best to just hang up.” 

Choose your words carefully and stay focused on your enthusiasm for your company’s innovation and why it’s important for your customers and the market, not on your enthusiasm for attacking your competitors directly, which can result in negative quotes. In addition, don’t let the journalist put words into your mouth. Refuse to speculate or hypothesize, especially regarding a competitor. Stick to the question and answer in a way that bridges back to your company’s messaging and the value you’re bringing to the market.

While the Rose family doesn’t start off as the ideal candidates to base your media relations skills on, the more time they spent “practicing,” the more friends they began to make and the better they settled in.

Effective media relations create ongoing opportunities for briefings yet interviews only come around so often. This is why it’s important to lean on an experienced PR team for training and preparation – don't pull a “Rose family” and just wing it. If you want to be sure to secure that critical media or analyst opportunity and nail the interview, let us know. We are here to help!


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