Does Your PR Have the X-Factor?

Does Your PR have the X-Factor?

Don’t judge me. But I do enjoy a little bit of X-Factor on a Saturday evening. I have two girls and it’s great family viewing time.

But I bet you thought The X-Factor was just a cheesy singing competition didn’t you? Think again.

The X-Factor is actually a hot bed of strategic PR tricks to keep you talking and discussing the programme. Perhaps you could use a few of the tricks in your business too? Let me explain.

1. Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

It’s a great movie premise. Remember when Bruce Willis tangled with terrorists up that skyscraper? And when Steven Seagal was ‘just a chef’? X-Factor engages us because we identify with the ordinary people on stage. They are just like us, only they are way more courageous; courageous enough to stand up in front of millions of people on live TV with only their talent for protection. That’s the hook.

Business Opportunity: What extraordinary achievements are ordinary people in your business making happen?

(P.S. The idea of extraordinary people doing ordinary things is also true  e.g. I’m a Celebrity)

2. Authenticity

The last two series have featured a new fly-on-the wall tactic of filming during the audition phase. The long lens captures apparently intimate unscripted conversations between people waiting to audition. This is a tactic to make you feel closer to the action and more empathy with the acts. They want you to care. And authenticity is a great way of making that happen.

Business Opportunity: How can you develop authentic content for your business? How about an unscripted video? Remember .. people buy from businesses and brands they know, like and trust.

3. Human Interest Back Stories

Every week finalist Christopher Maloney from Liverpool whines: “I’m doing it for me Nan. And me Mam’s Nan. I want to make me Mam’s Nan’s Nan proud. etc.” Other contestants have overcome bullying. In the past, other finalists have overcome stuttering.

There’s only so long someone singing nice songs can keep our attention. We want to know what makes them tick. We want to understand their Why (See, Simon Sinek). Some cynics say the back stories might even influence the live show line up. They’re that important. You don’t have to try too hard to imagine the show’s PR people brainstorming the most impactful back stories for each contestant.

Business Opportunity: What part of yourself can you reveal to demonstrate your business’ human side? What do you care about? What is your passion? What is your story? What is your mission and why? Do you blog? Share your ideas and opinions.

4. Controversy

In the most recent show at the time of writing, a nailed on member of the prospective final three (Ella) has just been eliminated causing widespread uproar. Some of the remaining contestants have even received thinly-veiled death threats! Earlier in the series Louis was seen to change his deadlock vote to effectively keep this year’s ‘Marmite’ finalist Rylan in the competition at the expense of a much more talented contestant (whose name now escapes me). It’s a gamble, because some commentators suspect fixing, and some viewers proclaim they are turning off. (But they won’t.)

Business Opportunity: You need to take real care with this tactic. It is not without risks. But, what do you really care about in your business sector? Are you prepared to stand up for what you believe? Even if you end up ruffling a few feathers? If you are consistent, and in line with your passion, your customers ‘may’ just respect you for it. NB The other side of the coin: simply churning out what you think people want you to say is a great way to be ignored and lose credibility.

James Arthur to win! 😉


Richard Glynn will help you stand out, build influence and become easier to buy from.
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