It’s been over two weeks since Prince died, and he continues to be one of the top news stories. There is no question he has had, and continues to have, an enormous impact on the world. Tributes continue from all directions — other celebrities while performing on their own stages, individuals visiting Paisley Park to pay their respects, earned media devoting cover stories to him, and those posting various thoughts on social media and sharing video footage of past performances.

When something this big happens, it brings up all kinds of questions within our culture, e.g., how common is it for people to get addicted to pain medication? Did he die of an overdose? What is his religion, Jehovah’s Witness, all about? Why are so many people grieving who didn’t even know him? Is it possible for an entire world to grieve for one person at the same time?

When so many people have the same kinds of questions and are experiencing similar emotions, a void is created allowing for certain conversations to take place. If you have a message that can speak to this, then you have an opportunity to be heard. Whether you have a book or product, a speaking platform, a cause or business, you can secure additional coverage and publicity if you can speak to one of the issues raised.

People have different reactions to this idea. Some say it’s taking advantage of a situation and trying to profit from it. I suppose that’s one way to look at it, but I think it really depends on the intentions of the person trying to get coverage. If you are an expert on grief, for example, giving tips and suggestions for how to handle grief is helpful and educational. If you’re a doctor or someone who can speak to pain killers and addiction, particularly if you have statistics on how many people get addicted, then advice on what to do to get off of them is helpful and beneficial. Then, if those listening want to learn more by purchasing your book or services, then you are offering a resource. This is a good thing.

If one is scanning the news just waiting to jump on a story to get the word out about their book or business, well, that’s a very different intention. It doesn’t come from a place of wanting to help others. That is the difference.

When a huge story breaks and the hard news angle has been covered, journalists and other media often want to talk to other experts about the issues being discussed. If you can add to the conversation and help others, then it really is important to step up and do it. At that point, it’s good to know how to pitch the media a story idea.

More on that in a future post.


P.S. On a more personal note, I was very sad and shocked by Prince’s sudden death. In my own life, he has had an amazing impact. Plus, we were from the same area. The picture above is Lake Minnetonka, just a few miles from Chanhassen, Minnesota, and was the lake referred to in his movie Purple Rain.

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