Painting Danica’s Portrait

One of the most important aspects of a successful media strategy is for you to control how you are portrayed…not the media.

A great example of someone really trying hard to do that is race car driver Danica Patrick.

Patrick of course gets tremendous media coverage because she is a woman succeeding in a male-dominated sport.   All the headlines going into this year’s Daytona 500 was how she was the first female to ever win the pole position to start the race.

Patrick ended up finishing eighth, and every post-race news story was the same— the first mention was that Jimmy Johnson won, then it was how Patrick made history with the highest finish ever for a woman.

She didn’t like that.  In her post-race comments, Patrick made it clear that WINNING was what mattered and that being happy with a top-10 finish would be setting herself up for failure.

Patrick doesn’t want to be known as the best FEMALE race car driver…she wants to be the best race car driver, period.   And in every media opportunity, she tries to hammer home that point.  It’s a tough battle, because obviously her gender is a big part of the story and will likely be so for a long time to come.  But we should give her kudos for trying to change the discussion from male/female to just  NASCAR racing.

The way you present yourself to the media will go a long way to determining how you are portrayed.  If you have a clear understanding of your message and keep that message always front and center, there’s a good chance you will be seen in the way you want.  Bad preparation and loss of focus allows others to step in and paint you in a whatever light they choose…and it’s likely you won’t like the result.

So remember, be like Danca Patrick.  Know what your message is and deliver it every chance you can.  Do that and you’ll have a great chance finishing first in the race for good media attention.

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