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PR and the MTV Video Music Awards

Kari Brownsberger

Did anyone catch the MTV Video Music Awards last night?  Even if you didn’t, I bet you’ve heard all about it in today’s news.  While MTV isn’t quite as relevant as it was 10 or even 20 years ago, it’s interesting to see how many people still talk about the VMAs year after year.  So what PR lessons can we learn from MTV?  Here are a few that I gathered.

Connect yourself to someone (or something) newsworthy

One thing that I thought was particularly smart this year was MTV’s choice of host, Chelsea Handler.  Love her or hate her, Handler has been growing in popularity over the past couple of years thanks to her E! talk show and best-selling books.  I’m sure MTV took that into account when they chose Handler to host, and there were probably people that tuned in just to see her performance.

Sure, most companies can’t afford to hire a popular celebrity to endorse or otherwise be connected to their products or services.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect yourself to something else that’s newsworthy.   Does your company have some expertise or opinions on a newly launched product?  Or maybe some insights into a growing trend?  Capitalize on topics that are already in the news, and your company instantly becomes more relevant.

Create your own news

Take a look at the coverage of the VMA’s and you’ll see that a lot of it talks about who the award winners (and losers) were.  MTV is creating its own news by giving out these awards, and your company can do the same thing.  The “news” you’re creating doesn’t have to be an award specifically.  Let’s say you’re a pizza shop.  Maybe you do a survey of your customers about which pizza toppings are most popular and share the results.  Or, you hold a contest among your customers to create a new pizza that will be on your menu, and then announce your new menu item to the media.  Even if you think there is nothing “new” going on at your company, if you do some creative thinking and use your resources (in this case, the pizza customer), you can probably come up with something new to offer to the media.

And when all else fails, having someone wear a meat dress (a la Lady Gaga) can’t hurt either…