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Love him or hate him, there is no doubt that Elon Musk is one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs of his generation – if not of all time.
Whether it’s news about one of his companies, gossip about his love life, or a reaction to his latest controversial tweet, there’s rarely a week that goes by where Musk’s name isn’t making headlines.
This is even more impressive given how much Musk opposes PR and advertising, once he tweets that he doesn’t believe in it.Manipulating public opinion. In 2020, it is Dissolve Tesla’s public relations departmentHis takeover of Twitter in 2022 was infamous for cutting thousands of jobs, many from communication team.
Last month, he also created an automated poop emoji Response to all media requests has been sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
email@example.com now automatically responds with ?
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 19, 2023
Related: Elon Musk Accused Of Violating Building Codes And Failing To Pay Termination, Lawsuits
But if that tempts you to conclude that traditional PR no longer serves any purpose, think again. Mask is a media professional, but like a great magician, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself.
Reaching the current level of notoriety took time, patience, and a lot of strategic knowledge. So, rather than take his public PR stance at face value, let’s take a detailed look at the strategies Musk has used to build his brands into household names.
Musk’s (Real) Approach to Media Relations
Tesla close public relations section It was an unprecedented step in the automotive industry. But his decision was not made because Musk no longer wanted media coverage for his company. Instead, he no longer has to bother. In the last months of Tesla’s press office, its public relations team has taken a beating Hundreds of journalists’ inquiries on a daily basis – something most companies can only dream of.
Musk has never ignored Tesla PR. On the contrary, from its inception to the present day, he has taken an unusually pragmatic approach to the company’s media strategy. Because of this, his coverage and companies have multiplied over time.
best selling resume, Tesla, SpaceX, and the search for a wonderful future, details just how involved Musk was as the Tesla name began to gain traction, personally leading efforts to gain media attention and “fix” any negative press. He has set a goal for the company to issue a weekly advertisement, personally craft press releases, and conduct media outreach to ensure he gets the desired results. Musk has also been known to look up news coverage of his companies at least once a day.
Related: Elon Musk says remote work is ‘morally wrong’ and calls it ‘absurd’
Here’s the first essential lesson for founders and CEOs: Musk understood that leaders must do this Pay close attention to the stories they share with the media, establish a steady communications cadence, and build relationships with reporters.
Musk knew (and knows) the importance of cultivating relationships with select journalists.
There is a reason why he doesn’t read posts but follows him individual journalists. Instead of sending lots of public information to the outlets, Musk gave some reporters exclusive first access to the information. Such was the case with Kara Swisher, one of the most influential journalists in the industry who has been interviewed by Musk numerous times. (Their relationship has since turned frostyat least.)
Far from dismissing the importance of traditional PR efforts, Musk has been adept at getting the story he wanted to tell through a steady stream of outreach. Just take a look at Tesla blogs and ads to see this firsthand.
Executed like a public relations professional, he knew that these connections and his connections to the media would help create an ongoing buzz that fueled buyer interest.
Musk sells the dream
In addition to the basics, Musk understood that when it comes to PR, it’s not so much about selling products as it is about selling influence and emotions. with SpaceXMusk, for example, provided a perfect example of how to sell a dream through storytelling.
Related: ‘Think carefully’: Musk issues stark warning about new hires for Tesla employees
Advertising has always been full of visionary language and bold ideas. in 2011 interviewMusk has been making waves with hopes of sending humans to Mars within 10 to 20 years. In 2019, riding the trend of sustainability, he announced that he wanted to build the first A sustainable city on Mars.
As inspiring and memorable as those images are, the day-to-day operations of making money at SpaceX are much more mundane. The company generates most of its revenue by sending satellites into space on behalf of US government to provide High speed broadband internet to remote and rural areas around the world. but when SpaceX raised $750 million In the latest funding round, satellite and broadband weren’t the main attraction of the presentation. That’s because Musk knows that it’s the big dreams and tough ideas that get people’s attention.
Business leaders should take note. When communicating your business ideas/projections, you should stand out from the crowd by highlighting the big vision behind your model of success. Focus on your clients’ core feelings and desires – what makes them dream – and make sure the stories you tell have emotional resonance.
He controls the narrative skillfully
Musk is obviously adept at public relations, but he doesn’t need or want everyone to know it.
This is also proven by the fact that it does not completely silence the radio. Instead, he makes sure (as best he can) that the message he wants to deliver is the story being covered, distracting from British cave lawsuits or buying Tesla.
Related: Elon Musk Calls San Francisco ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ As Another Major Retailer Leaves Due To Crime
For example, in December 2022 a Controversial Twitter poll Asking the public to decide whether he should step down as CEO of the platform.
Should I step down as president of Twitter? I will stick to the results of this survey.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
After more than 17 million votes have been cast 57.5% of respondents voted for his ousterMusk announced that he would resign “when a suitable replacement is found,” leaving many to doubt he would stick to the poll results as promised. However, he stuck to his word and appointment Linda Iaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter On May 12th. What is interesting here is that musk He never intended to stay on as CEO in the first placebut his “public poll” ensured that the topic dominated the headlines for months.
Musk was also eager to gain attention for his persistence Public disagreement with NPR Having designated the news outlet, along with many others, with the “government-funded” and “state-affiliated” tags on Twitter. While these posters have now been removed, the story continues to receive renewed coverage thanks to the new Anecdotes of information which Musk releases to the public.
The designations also sparked a surprise, impromptu interview with the BBC’s James Clayton on Twitter Spaces in which it became clear that Musk had no plans to be a passive participant, with Clayton commenting, “Several times I felt he was trying to interview me.“
While no one person can completely control media coverage, it is important to engage with reporters to increase the likelihood of your company getting positive coverage. And if there’s a PR crisis, having ties to the media means you’re more likely to offer some form of damage control.
Musk knows that media coverage is important, and his brands are around today thanks to his PR knowledge. Building a series of ads, shifting the narrative toward positive stories, and creating memorable insight are all valuable ways to generate unwavering media coverage.