There’s a common struggle for many organizations to understand why some topics and people get news coverage, while others don’t. Some quickly dismiss it by saying “they only talk about the bad stuff,” but Jenner’s story is a clear example of how that’s simply not true. Here are five reasons why Caitlyn Jenner’s transition made the news.
- Smart rollout. While the public was only officially introduced to Caitlyn on June 1st, her debut was the product of thoughtful planning. Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer whet an already hungry public’s appetite and softened the ground in a way that mitigated any potential shock while creating a movement of public understanding and support for Jenner. Caitlyn’s public debut was the product of type of smart strategic planning that every organization should be employing.
- Highly visual. While the stunning photography by Annie Leibovitz certainly had an impact, the story behind Jenner’s transition is inherently a highly visual one. Visuals matter on TV (vision is right there in the name), print, online and social. Imagine how much less we would be hearing about Caitlyn if we didn’t have any pictures. Take note and make sure your next attempt to get earned media has something journalists will want to show.
- This one’s a “talker.” This story has everyone talking, which is the kind of gold media outlets work to strike every day. A story that starts conversations or holds the promise of interesting follow-ups are especially appealing to outlets eager to generate buzz and keep people coming back for more.
- It’s Compelling. Bruce Jenner told Diane Sawyer “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t the easiest thing to do right now is go in the other room, get a gun. Pain is over. Done. Go to a better place.’” Jenner’s honesty and vulnerability made the interview and this story as compelling as it gets. Although most transgender people in America don’t have nearly the positive reception Caitlyn has experienced, the story is one of rare positivity in which she has become a high profile champion for transgender equality and made people genuinely root for her. This can be seen in the numbers. After releasing the Vanity Fair photo on her new Twitter account it only took Caitlyn 4 hours to reach 1 million followers, becoming the fastest ever Twitter user to reach one million followers and beating out Barack Obama in the process. Compelling and emotional stories grab our attention, build movements, create change, and make the news.
- Celebrity. He was famous and so is she. While Jenner’s fame has undoubtedly played a role, it would be a mistake to chalk all the coverage up to that alone so don’t think running out and getting a celebrity will solve all your earned media needs. There are lots of famous people and they all do things every day without being in the news, even when they want to. Without at least some of the elements above, no celebrity is a sure bet for getting you coverage.