21 Ideas for Hot Press Releases – Part 3

Part One of this article is available here…

Part Two of this article is available here…

Hot Publicity Idea #15: Controversy

Start a fight. The media loves controversy. Watch TV any night and you’ll realize quickly people love controversy. Challenge something everybody believes to be true in your industry. Find something that will cause a debate with differing view points. It could be as simple as doctors discussing different ways of treating a patient – each one believing their way is the best, of course.

The idea on exposing scams is part of the controversial approach as well. Expose some scams people don’t know about or that the industry will defend and you’ve just created a world of controversy.

If you really want to go full bore, pick something that is a very emotionally charged issue if you can stand the heat. This would include anything that discusses religion, politics, sex, etc. If you do go this route, you’d better be prepared for the backlash. If you have clients who are on the other side, be prepared to lose them. If all or the major majority of your clients are on your side though, it may be worth it.

You also have to be prepared for the possible lunatic fringe which may threaten you or your family. Don’t jump into the emotionally heated debates if you’re not ready for the fire you’ll create. But if you do jump in one, you’re pretty much guaranteed publicity.

Hot Publicity Idea #16: Educational Class

Hold a class or seminar providing people with free useful information about your subject. You could teach an adult education class at a local college. You could hold a free or low cost seminar at the library or large book store. You may even create classes at your place of business.

Speaking on your topic at association meetings and community groups is another way to generate publicity. You’ll simply teach something about your business which people can pick up and learn quickly. This is following the same free informational approach which has been covered multiple times throughout this course.

I understand you may be afraid of speaking in front of a group, but these classes aren’t what you imagine them to be. You could design them to be a type of workshop and have your students doing something. For example, the mechanic could show people how to change their own oil or something else minor. Any professional could explain a few things and then have worksheets for their class to fill out.

Having a class doesn’t mean you have to actually talk for an hour or two. Ask questions. Elicit feedback. Demonstrate. Have them practice. Answer questions. Participation is much more fun and a better way to learn anyway. Most of your teachers in school weren’t very good! So don’t look to them as your guidance. If you had a good one, they would stand out in your mind as someone who got the class to participate. Do the same for anyone you teach.

Hot Publicity Idea #17: Holidays

Tie your offerings and press release to the holidays. Paul Hartunian always talks about how he sends out his press releases for, “How to be Outrageously Successful with the Opposite Sex” during the Valentine’s Day season. Obviously anything involving romance will work well during that week. Run a romance event for your store, restaurant, or practice.

Give away Christmas gifts to clients from your business or website. Have a special on all your green items only on St. Patrick’s Day. Run a costume contest with great prizes a week before or after Halloween just to be different. Discuss stress over the holidays and how to deal with it. What holiday could you tie your offerings into?

Go on the radio and discuss why every child should see the optometrist before going back to school. Send out a press release about how every football player needs to see a chiropractor as soon as the season’s over.

Create your own holiday as Dental Awareness week when you give away free information packets at your office. Celebrate Columbus Day by announcing a new discovery in your industry. Announce that every home should hire a maid service for Mother’s Day. Or create a do something special for mom sheet where hiring your maid service is one of the items on the list.

Hot Publicity Idea #18: Weather

Does the weather affect your business or industry in any way? How can you turn this into a news angle? It’s getting cold outside so now is the time to prepare your car for the winter. Have free booklets printed up which tell someone how to do it all themselves, but also include a coupon for the full service at your automotive facility.

It’s getting warm out so this is when people begin participating in sports again. Here’s how to ease yourself back into activity (useful for chiropractors, doctors, nutritionists, and personal trainers). Here’s how to keep your pipes from freezing (plumbers). How to look great even in the rainy season (stylists, nail salons, and clothing stores).

Your business may not be seasonal, but there are seasonal effects you can discuss in any market. This idea is based on educational marketing. Give vital information that helps the media’s audience while leading them toward your product or service. You could use the booklet method.

Or you could simply write the tips in the release itself. Or you could run a class about it. What do you know because of your expertise that the average person out there doesn’t know? This could be based on proven statistics or stories which have occurred in your business.

Hot Publicity Idea #19: Predictions

Make a prediction. It doesn’t even need to be a good one. Make enough predictions and some will eventually end up correct simply by accident. Does anyone really believe the groundhog can predict the end of winter? There are books about how the stock market will crash and books about how it will soar.

The beginning of the year is full of predictions for what the next year holds in _______. The movie critic predicts top movies. The accountant predicts upcoming tax changes. The real estate predicts home prices. The doctor predicts the flu season. Everybody is full of predictions, and the surprising thing is we all want to hear more!

The prediction is even better if you can create a controversy over it. If everybody is talking about how such-and-such will occur, you’ll get publicity by predicting the opposite. You might even get to debate about it. All the time you’re building your business all the way to the bank. If your prediction comes out wrong, explain what went wrong…and make more predictions. Watch major analysts and you’ll quickly realize this is the way to go.

Hot Publicity Idea #20: Be Funny

Stop being so serious. I’ve been around business people who I’ve wanted to title the “Sourpuss marketer.” I haven’t done it yet, at least not out-loud.

Humor can be a little dangerous in sales copy because it can be misunderstood, but it is a great tool for publicity. Have you ever heard of the “pet rock?” Gary Dahl created a manual, “The Pet Rock Training Manual” and sold it along with a ROCK. He sold millions of these things as the answer to the perfect pet which didn’t cost much, didn’t make messes, and didn’t misbehave. He created a fad and became famous selling a rock!

Has anything interesting, exciting, or funny ever happened in your business? Have you ever had a wacky idea? Is there anything you sell which has an unusual story behind it? Gary Dahl sold a ROCK because he created a story to go with it (it was your pet). Did you take a funny picture? Do your employees have a funny story to tell? Do your clients have a funny story to tell about your products or services?

Can you hold a funny contest? Create an award that’s funny. Run an unusual sale like a sale only for people who are left-handed (have them prove it with the left-handed test).

Ask some of your clients what they find funny. Ask a few of them if they think something you’re planning on using is funny. The key principle here is you don’t want to drop your client’s perception of your expertise while being funny. It doesn’t matter what other business people in your industry think of you. They’re not your target market. It only matters what your target market thinks of you. So be a little silly. Be unusual. Be attention getting. But don’t go totally off the deep end where you lose your clients.

Hot Publicity Idea #21: Be a Resource

You receive publicity because you help the media do their jobs better. They need interesting stories and you provide them with those. They need an interview and you give them one. If they need photos, you provide those. You’re there to make their jobs easier for them.

One of the great ways you can do this is by calling reporters and editors who deal with your subject on the phone. Either ask them over the phone or take them out to lunch. Ask them one simple question. “How can I help you?” What is it you can do to make their jobs quicker and easier?

Suggest that you’re available if they ever need a comment on your subject. Give them your personal phone or cell number to call you if they need a quick quote on a story they’re writing. If they do interviews, tell them you’ll fill in for any guest who doesn’t show up when scheduled.

Whatever it is they need, you’re the person they can go to in your industry. A little bit of relationship building with the key people who cover news in your market goes a long way to generating the kind of publicity you want for your business. If they continually come to you for quotes and information, you’ll soon be seen as the “expert” by all their audience.

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