The Value of Characters with Every Media Campaign

You can’t tell a captivating story without great characters, and this WSJ article is proof. If your media campaign isn’t catching on with reporters, perhaps you’re missing that crucial element.

You might have the best product or service but if you can’t demonstrate how it works, your story sell gets a lot harder. And this challenge is compounded when your product promotes an invisible service that consumers can’t see.

Let’s look at this WSJ article for context. The story line is simple: lab grown diamonds are becoming more affordable. That makes for a great headline but a story must go deeper.

Why Characters Drive Stories with PR

Take a deeper look at this WSJ article and you will see how characters drive the story. They made it interesting and helped me relate to the invisible idea of lab-made diamonds. In the case with lab grown diamonds, the narrative doesn’t revolve around the lab and how diamonds are made. That’s inside baseball and boring. No one wants to hear how the sausage is made. We want to feel, see and experience as consumers of media. 

When I was at NBC, I was fortunate enough to work with the iconic journalist Gabe Pressman. When we assigned him a story, he would walk into the morning news meeting and ask “who are the people telling this story? It’s all about people.” 

At the time, I thought that observation was obvious. I learned in college that you can’t write any story for the campus paper without having people. But apparently, not everyone sees the obvious.

Common Mistakes Publicists Make with the Media

As Executive Producer with NBC, that was one of the biggest mistakes I saw publicists make when trying to get media coverage. They pitched stories that weren’t completely fleshed out – meaning they were missing elements from the start. The headline might sound intriguing, but you still need substance to back up the story. 

I recently worked with a health app that definitely has a unique offering. Their product provides value but our campaign was missing that critical element. We didn’t have a consumer to revolve the story around. Ask any experienced journalist or producer, and they will want to know quickly who are the characters for the story.

So if your business is confronting headwinds with media coverage, take another look at your characters. Do you have a character (like this WSJ article) who can help your readers and viewers see the value of the product? And remember, that article is not an advertisement for your business. The best publicists will find a way to insert you without making the sell obvious.

Contact us if you’d like to hear how we can position characters for your next publicity campaign. You can also get a quick PR estimate by clicking here.


Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2021 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in 2021.