Your job as a media seller is to help your clients with messages that will move buyers.

Singing of the national anthem at a University of Miami football game, Coral Gables, Florida, c.1928. State Library and Archives of Florida.

Warning up front – this might make some of you uncomfortable.

Like so many of us, I was glued to my radio and television last week. I heard and watched the terror as the Boston Marathon runners, volunteers and spectators scattered. I listened to interviews from octogenarians in West, Texas, about being trapped in their nursing home after the explosion. And my Friday dinner hour and evening were spent on the true reality show, watching infra-red cameras find in a boat in a neighborhood driveway a 19-year-old who had allegedly been involved in killing a cop and a kid, among others.

The local news was filled with reactions from local runners, discussions of security at upcoming local events, and “could it happen here” scenarios of the West, Texas, explosion and the home-made bombs. Conversations at the grocery store to social gatherings centered on the questions of “Why did they do that?” to “How could that happen?” to “What is going on in the world?!”

I feel like my experiences as a reporter and later as a media salesperson and sales manager give me some perspective on the upcoming few days. There is a surge of well wishes and patriotism, but the truth is, life goes on and business goes on. We are empathetic about what our friends who run marathons must feel and what our colleagues in Boston and around West went through and still have to deal with. But life is going on and business is going on.

In media sales, we can and should be aware of popular opinion. First, the empathetic:

  • Check your copy. Take out references to this weekend’s car dealership blowing up high prices or is having a savings explosion. Give it a week or two; it just might be a little too soon.
  • If you are not the empathetic type and don’t know if it is too soon, check Facebook or LinkedIn, or listen to your own news or talk shows. If people are still posting articles or talking about the topic and seem sad or outraged, it is too soon.

Now for the life and business goes on part. And again, some of you may think this is too soon. But remember, your job is to help your clients with messages that will move buyers. To do that, you have to be aware of opportunities as well as popular opinion.

  • People are feeling unsafe. Think of products and services that can help them feel safer. Security systems for homes and cars are two obvious products. Brainstorm product categories and search your master account list to come up with more.
  • There is an interest in care-givers, helpers, and heroes. Come up with sponsorship ideas for your hometown heroes that can incorporate spots, promos and web.
  • There is a renewed patriotism. Our thoughts are with Boston and West, Texas, and everyone has been singing the national anthem at sporting events. Don’t tie it in just to tie it in, but if there is an appropriate way for your client to relate to this, help them incorporate it into their message.

If you feel uncomfortable about looking at this as business, think about the insurance guys who buy up all of your spots after a tornado, or the utilities which do massive campaigns immediately after the power has been off due to a hurricane or ice storm. Again, I am not being insensitive or trying to make money from people losing their homes, their limbs or their loved ones. Events like this bring us together as a nation. And life, and business, go on.

If you disagree with this, please let me hear from you.

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There are times when it is especially important to be able to communicate with many clients concurrently. For great tips on using eMarketing for media sales, read An Email How-to Guide for Media Sales.