PRs Should Have More Chances To Be On Camera

A good PR should have the qualifications to make a fun on-air appearance every once in a while.

Yes, we see a lot of PR pros on TV, usually taking a seat on news programs to add their two cents to a segment on this or that. And we’ll hear from a spokesperson in print stories when there’s a crisis, usually giving a bland comment or no comment at all. But I saw this on The Daily Show last night and thought maybe PRs should come out from behind those desks and get creative on camera.

In case you don’t have five minutes to watch (isn’t it a slow week?), Mike Tringdale, the SVP of external affairs at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, makes a surprise visit at the end of this segment about seasonal allergies. Jon Stewart is haranguing the media over its annual coverage of pollen — each year, it’s called the “worst ever” — and in comes Tringdale to tell Stewart that that might actually be true. Each year, conditions change, which might make seasonal allergies worse. He even sneaks in a few words about the impact that climate change is having.

It’s funny, it’s informative and it gets the word out that this organization exists. (There’s a page on its website that accepts donations.)

There aren’t a ton of opportunities for a PR to get on stage with Jon Stewart to get this sort of grade A clip. And often, publicists operate in the background, trying to create opportunities for their clients to shine. But when there is a chance for a publicist to act as a spokesperson in a way that gives them the flexibility to show a little personality, they should grab it. Here are three reasons why:

They have intimate knowledge of the talking points. They know what sort of messaging the organization wants to get across. So even if they’re tossed a curve ball, they should be skilled enough to address the issue and bring the conversation back to what they’d like to discuss as well.

They’re creative. One of the common traits for a publicist is creativity. Campaigns, messaging, events… these are all things that a good publicist should be able to handle. So given the chance to speak about a topic in a setting other than behind a dais is in a good PR’s wheelhouse. It’s not always a requirement for a company executive.

It’s one more skill that you can talk up. It’s important that a client trust a PR’s expertise and capabilities. Having a clip like this showcases not just the fact that the PR is comfortable in front of the camera, but has enough know-how to instruct others on how to prepare for an on-air opportunity.

So it might be worth considering a little camera time for a PR who has a little Mike Tringdale in them.