In my previous post, I discussed four ways to “make news.” Here are three more time-tested ways.
Announce a milestone.
Announcing a milestone number of visitors or sales is a common technique, used by companies ranging from Disney to Apple. You don’t have to be huge to toot your horn this way, but you do need to be large enough for the milestone to interest others.
What customer, sales or other milestone can you announce?
Hold a contest.
The contest could be local, national or even international.
The English department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest annually for more than 20 years. Named for the writer who penned Snoopy’s favorite line “it was a dark and stormy night,” this literary competition challenges entrants to compose the opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels. (To read this year’s winners, go to www.bulwer-lytton.com.)
Although it might seem counter-productive for an English department to encourage bad writing, the contest gives the school the opportunity to emphasize the importance of good writing.
Companies in many other industries also hold contests. Software companies sponsor contests for programmers. Food manufacturers hold recipe contests. Not-for-profit organizations run essay contests.
What contest could you develop that would reflect your organization’s vision?
Put on an event.
Depending on how busy the news day is, an event can generate publicity. However, make sure the event has value in and of itself, and don’t put it on just for the publicity. Visual events (such as parades) and events involving kids are popular. Or an event can be tailored for a particular industry. I once helped put on a lunch at the San Francisco Culinary Academy to announce a new cookbook. The media attended; the food was great and the cookbook got a lot of coverage.
Depending on the type of news you “make,” you will have several publicity opportunities:
- You can announce the contest, event and the like.
- You can remind people of the deadline or event date.
- You can announce the results and winners.
- You can invite the media to the event (but do not expect them to show up unless it is a really big event or a slow news day).
- If your news is visual, you can provide pictures to the media.
Time your news to maximize its publicity potential. For example, you might tie into holidays or seasonal activities like elections or the Super Bowl. Also capitalize on traditionally slow news periods, such as long weekends. Less generally happens then, increasing your chances at coverage.
What other ways have you “made news”?
More information about news and the media is available at www.CommunicationsPlus.net/PRArticles.html