May 19, 2017

Second only to my passion for healthcare, is my love for my favorite TV shows. While television can provide an escape from the craziness of the world, as a PR professional, I often find myself walking away from an episode with key takeaways to apply to the work I do here at Aria Marketing. Believe it or not, Netflix is a treasure trove of content on public relations. Here are four PR lessons we can learn from hit TV shows.


Nothing is ever “off the record”

In Parks and Rec, city planner Mark Brandanawicz learns this lesson the hard way. While going on a date with a local reporter who is covering a major Parks department project, he provides some “off the record” comments about how the project will never happen. Despite the fact that these comments weren’t said in an interview, the reporter reshaped her story around them and almost turned a PR win for the Park department into a major PR disaster. Don’t pull a Mark Brananwicz. 


Trust your gut and stay calm in a crisis

 Scandal is a treasure trove of PR lessons as Olivia Pope is a master at crisis communication (and great outfits). As one of the best “fixers” in D.C., she knows how to handle any crisis that comes her way. And while the stakes are high, she trusts her instincts and remains fairly calm when confronting a potential scandal. When facing a crisis, take a second to gather your thoughts and then, like Olivia, the best course of action is usually to go with your gut instinct. Who knows, you could just turn a PR crisis into a major PR win.



Stay on message

Another lesson from Parks and Rec comes this time from Deputy Parks Director Leslie Knope. Knope is a master at staying on message. Frequently, when sitting down with the local paper, she even proposes her own, often long-winded, headlines that encapsulate the key messages of whatever topic she is discussing. While I don’t recommend telling a journalist what their headline should be, it is important to outline your key messages in advance and continue to circle back to them in your responses whenever possible.


Know your audience

This is something you’d think Joey Tribanni from Friends would have learned. When being interviewed by Soap Opera Digest, Joey managed to forget who the audience of the publication is as he said he doesn’t watch soap operas as he “has a life,” directly alienating the core audience of the publication. Both PR professionals and interviewees should always remember who a publication’s audience is to tailor pitches and responses appropriately towards them. 


What other PR lessons have you learned from your favorite TV shows? Let us know on Twitter at @ariamarketing or share with us on Facebook.  


Blog post written by:
Danielle Johns
Author: Danielle Johns
Account Director