Three Media Relations from Freaks and Geeks

One of my all-time favorite shows is a one-season comedy/drama about a group of misfits struggling to get through high school: Freaks and Greeks.

As the “freaks” and the “geeks” try to find their footing in adolescence, they get many lessons in social interactions as they navigate relationships with friends, love interests, parents and teachers – which makes the show a great lesson in media relations! Here are three of those lessons that Freaks and Geeks teaches about creating relationships with the media:

The Popular Choice Isn’t Always the Best Choice

Cindy Sanders was the most popular freshman at their high school and Sam Weir desperately wanted to be her boyfriend. However, it proved to not be the best move for Sam once he began dating her. This yielded the lesson that just because someone – or something – is popular doesn’t mean it’s the right fit.

Even though it may be tempting to try for a placement in the publication with the largest readership, it might not always be the most strategic move for your client. Consider your client’s target audience and plan accordingly.

Don’t Give Up on the Tough Kid

Journalists can be tough and even intimidating sometimes – like the freshman bully Alan. However, Sam and his gang stuck around long enough to discover that the only reason Alan tortured the friend group was because of his jealousy. They even all eventually became friendly.

Keep trying with reporters, even if you’re having difficulty connecting with them. Even if you never hear back or hear gruff one line answers that they’re not interested, continue to provide powerful, concise pitches. You never know what could stick. However, be respectful of their wishes and back off if they no longer wanted to be contacted by PR professionals, which can sometimes be the case.

Be A Stellar Guidance Counselor

Though main character “freak” Lindsay Weir, along with her “freak” friends, didn’t appreciate the hippie guidance counselor Jeff at the time, he did what he could to set them up for success. He provided them anti-drug pamphlets, encouraged Lindsey to stay in math club and kindly took away their fake I.D.s when they snuck in underage to a music club.  Like Jeff help out your journalist and provide them the resources they need right off the bat. Provide them the 5Ws, appropriate links, contact information and when they ask – attachments.

Though the “freaks” eventually just ended up following the Grateful Dead, with the right relationship nurturing, we can go far in our PR careers. We can land our clients in amazing publications while creating long-lasting relationships with reporters.