4 PR and marketing lessons from ‘The Golden Girls’

What can the classic show about four women conquering all through friendship teach today’s communicators? Here are four lessons that stand the test of time.

ABC is thanking viewers for being friends of its hit show, “The Golden Girls.”

On Monday, Disney ABC Television announced it was calling July 30 “Golden Girls Day,” releasing an article of facts that “may surprise even the biggest fans.” The announcement follows a collection of action figures from the show that were recently unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con.

Find a set on the lanai for these four takeaways PR and marketing pros can learn from “The Golden Girls”:

1. Give your audience something sweet.


It’s no coincidence that ABC chose #GoldenGirlsDay to fall on the same day as National Cheesecake Day. The dessert was a favorite of Sophia and Dorothy Petrillo, Rose Nylund and Blanche Devereaux, the show’s main characters. Many celebrations, late-night brainstorming sessions and crisis meetings were held at the kitchen table while over slices of cheesecake.

You might not offer your executives, employees or consumers slices of cheesecake, but you can still offer them something that satisfies. Produce and share content that answers questions and offers valuable information or advice. Listen to their needs and feedback online, and regularly interact with them to provide the customer service they crave.

2. Great storytelling steals the show.


Two of the most iconic lines of “The Golden Girls” came from Sophia and Rose launching into tales that illustrated a current problem (or confused and entertained the listener). Sophia would begin with, “Picture it: Sicily. 1922.” Rose’s stories usually started with the phrase, “Back in St. Olaf…” Both signaled that a story—no matter how strange—was about to captivate you for the next few minutes.

Sophia’s stories—along with her other snarky quips—were so funny that she replaced a main character that was originally written into the show.

Bustle’s Stephanie Topacio Long wrote:

The idea of just three Golden Girls feels wrong, but that was the original premise: three women (Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy) living in Florida with their gay houseboy, Coco. Unfortunately for Charles Levin, the man cast as Coco, Estelle Getty was so hysterically funny that the show’s producers decided to let him go and make Sophia a series regular instead.

PR and marketing pros can also steal the show—or headlines—when they tell outstanding stories. The time spent uncovering your organization’s tales that can capture audiences’ attention is well worth it when you make a splash with both consumers and reporters.

3. Involve those around you for greater success.


Dorothy and Rose became Blanche’s roommates after responding to an ad and Sophia joined them after the retirement home where she had been staying burned down. Though the women did not start off as friends, they became each other’s confidants and cheerleaders and often helped one another overcome trials.

Involving members of your organization’s team can help you better achieve buy-in for your campaign and also help you spot weak areas in your efforts that you might have overlooked. Brainstorming, editing, crisis response planning and social media engagement are all areas where you can greatly benefit from having another set of eyes (or several).

Involving others also extends to your consumers, whether through online interactions or via social media influencer partnerships that tap into thriving communities and boost your credibility. Invite others to the party, and you’ll have an even better time (and produce more buzz).

4. Don’t miss opportunities to show off your talents.


Taking over as characters in Dorothy’s school production of “Henny Penny,” competing in a songwriting competition and performing in a tap dance competition were just a few ways the show’s main characters displayed their talents—not to mention the food they could (and did) make.

PR and marketing pros, highlight your skills whenever you can. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and compelling, offer to help with campaigns and other efforts in which you can learn new things, and always network.

Relationships are paramount to PR pros’ success, whether with reporters to snag media coverage, consumers to boost social media engagement or other industry professionals to share ideas and knowledge—and even find your dream job.

This advice applies to communicators of all ages and years of experience, as well. When she was almost 70, Rose was forced to find a higher-paying job after the company her late husband worked for went bankrupt, eliminating his pension plan. She landed one as a personal assistant to a TV personality for a local station.

If you think you’re too entrenched your career rut to embrace a new trend, grab your dream job or lead a new initiative, you still have much to offer.

What PR and marketing lessons have you gleaned from “The Golden Girls?”

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