21 Ideas for Hot Press Releases – Part 1
Step one to generating publicity is coming up with a hot story. After you come up with a hot story, then you’ll learn how to deliver it to the media. This is the first post about 21 idea generators to help you come up with hot stories the media will love. The hot story could be compared to your business USP. It is the basis of everything else that happens. In fact, one of the hot story ideas could be your USP!
As you read through these methods, pay attention to ways you could combine multiple ideas into one press release or story. You could have an outrageous claim which piggy-backs on national news while giving away free information. You could give away a free report revealing the 5 scams perpetrated in your industry (combining 3 techniques).
You might have discovered a solution to a problem and tie it into the human interest story of one of your clients. Most of the hottest ideas are combinations of multiple ideas. What other ideas could you come up with?
Hot Publicity Idea #1: Traditional
You can send out the “normal” press release about the new person who was hired or how you became a member of the million dollar club. You can let people know you’re opening a new office. You may have hired 13 new people. You could have released a new product or started a new service. You might get a short blurb from these releases, and a few people might even see it.
Just don’t limit yourself to this type of release. Let’s say you send out 12 press releases this year. You’re allowed a couple like this. They won’t be big winners, but they can get you a little publicity. They’re also easy ones to create in between your big ones to make sure you stay in the habit and in the news.
It’s also possible local or small media might pick up a release like this and add to it or save it for later. If you haven’t been sending out press releases, this is an easy way to get started (just don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t produce incredible results overnight).
Hot Publicity Idea #2: Outrageous Claim
Now we’re cooking. What kind of outrageous claim or promise can you fulfill? What is the ultimate benefit you deliver to your clients and customers? Two great examples of this type of release come to mind. Robert Allen originally built his information empire on the outrageous claim, “Send me to any city in America, take away my wallet, give me $100 for living expenses and in 72 hours, I’ll buy an excellent property using none of my own money.”
That’s an outrageous claim. The LA Times eventually took him up on this, and he met the challenge by buying the properties in less than 72 hours. His publicity immediately took off and his “Nothing Down” book sold like hotcakes.
The second example is an offer Paul Hartunian makes. The headline on one of his most popular press releases is, “I Can Help Anyone Find the Love of Their Life in 90 Days or Less!” He then sends out the release just before Valentine’s Day. Do you think that is popular? He says the media call him like crazy when he sends out the press release. People are lonely and always looking for love.
Some media people will want to immediately do a story on it. Others will want to put him to the test by finding him the biggest loser they can for him to test it out on.
What kind of outrageous claim can you make? What are the big benefits you help people achieve? And how quickly can you do it? The one condition with this is you must be able to back up your claim. Eventually the media will call you on it and you better be able to produce the goods. If you can’t make it happen, then don’t make the claim. You’ll be exposed as a fraud in front of their entire audience. That’s the one kind of publicity you don’t want!
Hot Publicity Idea #3: Share your Unique Selling Position
If you’ve done a good job creating a unique selling position, it’s a pretty incredible claim on its own. You can use it as the basis for your press release. This is especially true if you guarantee your focus statement in some way. You’re essentially issuing a challenge to all the other businesses in your market niche. Just like the outrageous claim, you had better be able to back it up.
The idea behind this type of story is that you’re offering something totally unique in the marketplace. The reporter or interviewer will be doing their entire audience a service by sharing your information. Just follow the rule that you’re telling, not selling.
You’re providing information on what you can do for people, not trying to sell everyone on it. This is accomplished by being lower key in your presentation. You’re an educator, not a salesperson. Focus on the facts and cut out the adjectives. Your press release must simply answer the question of why their audience would be interested in what you offer. The more unique you are, the better this works.
Hot Publicity Idea #4: Piggy Back on National or Local News
Find the hot story and get in front of it. Listen to local radio stations and read the local newspaper. Use the Internet and list http://www.cnn.com as one of your favorite places. You can also use Google News at http://news.google.com.
Both of these sites will allow you to quickly scan the top breaking news of the day. Even if you do business exclusively in your local area, world news is still valuable to your market. The media you’ll be contacting use these sources themselves. If you can tie your local news angle into a hot story of the day, you’ve got it made. The same rules apply if you’re promoting a product in a larger area or simply want traffic at a website. Piggy-back your story on what’s already going on.
If oil prices are high, how can you tie in your story to that news? If you’re a car dealer, it means that the cars which get high miles per gallon are hot. If you’re the furnace installer, it means clients who buy your new energy efficient furnace will save 37% more this winter. If you do pizza delivery, it means people save more buying from your delivery drivers than going out to eat. If you’re a travel agent, maybe people should book their trip now before rates go up.
If the hot news of the day is that interest rates are rising, how does that affect your audience? If a new medical breakthrough occurred, how does that affect your clients? If the IRS just announced they’re doing more audits, what does that mean in your business? Begin looking at all news as an avenue for more publicity in your business. On election night, prepare a press release which is ready to go no matter who wins (just edit it with the name of the new winner when it’s announced).
If you’re a real estate agent, the press release can be about how the new president is likely to affect home prices. The accountant might discuss tax laws. The lawyer may discuss laws. How does whatever happened affect you and your clients?
Hot Publicity Idea #5: Expose Scams
What kind of scams go on in your industry? This one is an exciting topic to get into because it has a two-fold effect. Not only do you generate free publicity, but you’re also seen as the good guy. You’re exposing all the dirty rotten tactics for what they are.
This strategy might not make you real popular with certain business people in your industry, but you don’t need to be friends with people pulling scams anyway. I wouldn’t ever mention names because then you bring on a lot of legal liabilities, but you can talk about the methods used to scam people.
The real estate agent could talk about scams listing agents do to get more business. Or they could talk about deceitful tactics used on buyers. The dentist could talk about how some dentists get you to pay for unnecessary work or do poor work on your teeth. The doctor could talk about health or nutritional scams.
The personal trainer could talk about fitness scams. The person who wrote an ebook on learning the guitar could talk about overpriced guitar sellers or how to spot a fraud instructor. The list here is endless. Any type of business can point out scams which take place in their industry.
The keywords are, “How to spot a Fraud in…” Or, “How to Spot Deceitful Tactics Used By…” “How _______ Rip You Off.” What goes on in your business that’s pretty scummy? What would a show like Dateline or 20/20 love to do to expose your industry? This is what you’re dealing with here. This is a hot topic. It can be controversial. And it definitely benefits the media’s audience.
Hot Publicity Idea #6: Free Information
Give away free information. If you’ve created a free report for lead generation in previous weeks, here is a perfect place to use it. Your press release can be about the free report and then the call to action at the end of the press release could be for people to contact your office to receive the free report.
Make sure you’re using a real free report in this instance. While the information in the report can lead them back to buying your product or service, it must have valuable information in it by itself. Even if they never contact you again, the report must still make their life better in some way.
This shows how you can get multiple use out of one of your marketing techniques. The report can be used for lead generation in your advertising. It can be used to build an opt-in email list on the Internet. It can be used as your publicity hook to get free advertising. You could also pull out a section of the free report and offer it as an article for newspapers, magazines, ezines, or websites. Can you see why I like those free reports so much?
Hot Publicity Idea #7: Lists
This is similar to the last publicity idea, but it goes one step further. You’re providing free information here, but you’re actually placing that information in the body of the release itself (this makes it easy for someone to publish an article). In the above idea you were essentially teasing the audience to call for a report. Here you demonstrate your knowledge by giving the list of information.
You could build a tip sheet such as “7 Best Ways to Generate Traffic to a Website,” or “3 Secrets to Improving Your Child’s Education.” We’re following the model I already gave you of a specific number of tips to achieving a benefit. You could also talk about myths in your industry. Examples of this may be “5 Myths About Going to a Dentist,” or “7 Myths About Furniture Buying.”
Since press releases need to be short (1 page with 1.5 spacing or double spacing is normal), you have to keep your lists very concise. Don’t try to give too many tips at once. This is not the place for your “13 Ways of Building a Doghouse” report. You also don’t get much supporting information. Each tip or myth only gets one to two sentences about it. So make sure all the information is easy to understand.
- 21 Ideas for Hot Press Releases – Part 2
- 21 Ideas for Hot Press Releases – Part 3
- 3 Publicity Resources My Clients Use
- 10 Ways to Advertise Your Website For Free
- Create a Simple Marketing Plan