Book Review: Media Whore by Daniel Shehori and Steven Shehori

mediawhore

ashley | I am not in the habit of reading (or reviewing) self-help books, but every now and then one catches my attention and I happily give it a go. Media Whorewas written by Daniel and Steven Shehori, brothers, and self-promoted comedy writers, who wrote this book to share the wisdom of self-publicity. As a professional publicist myself, I was quite intrigued with the content and wanted to see how I’ve been doing at my job for the past 10 years. 

Before the book even starts, there’s a note from the author about the ever-changing world of public relations and communications. This is something I can attest to and something that I think makes this book all the more interesting. There was a time when hiring a publicist was vital to your success. There was no email or internet, you couldn’t share content virtually or get discovered on youtube. You were basically putting your image in the hand of your hired publicist and trusting that they knew the right tools and the right people to make you, or your product, famous. Now, you can buy a self-help book with detailed guidance on exactly how to do it all yourself, reach all the important people by email and shamelessly promote yourself all over social media, all from the comfort of your own home. Boy, how times change. 

The Shehori brothers have a background in comedy and that’s strongly reflected in their writing. This takes on a very casual voice, cutting through any fancy industry talk or colourful BS you might get in a pitch from an expensive publicity firm to give you the bare bone basics. That said, if you’re looking for a clear-cut step by step guide to create your own publicity campaign, this isn’t exactly that. While it is constructed in a guide format from your first to last steps, the material in each step is kind of all over the place. Not the messaging, they’re always on point, but some parts felt a little like speaking to a hyperactive child whose thoughts kept going off on these tangents and you’re standing there wondering whether they will ever take a breath.

That isn’t to say the content isn’t useful, it really is, and even these tangents often had helpful tips buried in them, but it’s definitely not your typical self-help book. They don’t give you all the answers and a step by step to-do list. They clearly explain the process, they give you ideas, even some strong template samples, and point you in the right direction, but they are not going to do all the work for you. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll have to hire them as your publicist. 

What I like about their approach to writing is that they use real life scenarios to explain their points. These are things most people can relate to and it helps make a connection to a foreign topic so that what a publicist does actually makes sense (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people I’m a publicist and they started asking me about the book publishing industry). They also make the big, scary world of PR seem a lot smaller and a lot less daunting. This should be really comforting for someone who has no idea where to start and no idea why it’s even worth publicizing themselves when they are just starting out and may not have all that much to show for themselves yet. 

The chapter on writing a press release is really thorough and probably one of the best guides you could find for a press release. The information is generally Google-able, but the book adds in some personal tips and explanations about why something is included or how it helps make your press release stronger, which gives you a better understanding of how a press release works, which will ultimately help you write a better release, which will give you a better chance of getting the attention you’re seeking. 

A lot of the tips they point out may seem like common sense… be nice to the media, try to picture their perspective when you’re reaching out to them, thank them for the coverage and their time etc. But you’d be amazed at how many people disregard these simple points and to me, these are some of the most important points, points that will make or break your successful relationships with the media you’re seeking support from.  

Publicity is in the Shehori brothers’ blood at this point and this book isn’t without a few memoir-ish self-praising stories about their comedy careers and publicity efforts. Sure, this could throw the flow of the book off a bit, but it was also interesting to learn a bit more about the authors and give some credibility to the words they’ve written. They have done some cool things, they know what they’re doing with self-promotion, this book isn’t just a bunch of buzz words. 

Point is, Media Whore genuinely has it all. It has more than it all.  For anyone who isn’t sure what a publicist is, or what they do, or what the point of it even is, this could be a good starting point to your education journey. It will take you from the basics of building a media list, to writing a press release, to sending out your press kit and following up, into other elements of a successful business like marketing/advertising, charity work, and even the uselessness of reviews. (Wait a second, what?!)  

The content and explanations were very much geared towards events, but the information is universal enough that you can easily apply it to products and brands, basically anything you are passionate about and want to turn into a success. The fact that they have a publicity firm located in Toronto (where I am!) and often refer to the city of Toronto, along with a few media folk I’ve worked with myself, was a personal bonus that I quite enjoyed.  

This was super short, super concise and super funny. And even for a seasoned professional, there were tons of fresh and new angles for this new era of publicity that reignited an excitement for the industry. These guys are on to something, and you could be too by giving this a quick read. 

5CityGirlScapesRating

more information
amazongoodreads website

published
september 12, 2017

copy provided for honest review by
authors

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