Who? What? Where? When? Why? If you have compelling and unique answers to all five questions, you’ll have a killer PR opportunity.
First of all, let’s just roll out the age-old saying:
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
I’m putting this out there because even today, this saying still goes strong.
If people are talking about your business, it means they’ve taken notice to something where prior to some ‘news’ they probably hadn’t heard of you before.
That’s a given.
One of the best methods of marketing your business, your products or yourself indirectly is through a press release style PR stunt.
It’s the most powerful way of making people aware of what you’re doing, that then gets repeated to others through word of mouth.
It can spread rapidly.
It’s not all that easy to get the right mix within your stunt though.
So, first of all, let’s start with how it all works (and how it can work for you).
Journalists, bloggers, and other online news and social media writers are hungry for stories and unique narratives.
Every day they scour the internet for a unique story that possesses the characteristics to capture their readers’ imaginations.
But, more than anything, writers look for stories to get people reading their magazines, their newsletters, their websites and their blogs, they need readers.
Why? Because readers are visitors, visitors are subscribers, and subscribers are money. You get the picture.
With that in mind, thousands of news stories get published every day.
Most of them are your “Average Joes”; some will be read but won’t really make an impact; some will be ignored or forgotten; some won’t even make the news in the first place.
But, there’s a small number where the story is so powerful that they’ll generate massive positive buzz, putting brands and businesses on the map and generating a handsome revenue figure in the process.
In turn, these writers will get their readers or site visitors.
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
– Oscar Wilde
Some examples that you can consider big successes whether they had meant to be or not, are: Red Bull’s stratosphere skydive; Taco Bell’s April fool’s joke; when Facebook sued ‘Mark Zuckerberg’; or, of course, when Halfway renamed their town Half.com.
The key factors in why these were all big successes are that they were completely unique. They stood out because they were completely unorthodox, and the press loved that.
So, now we know what the press is after (what’s newsworthy), let’s give it to them.
We’re after a compelling story. What can you do, with your business in mind, to create this? This is where creativity comes in. And I mean really creative here.
This is a story that can be slightly fabricated.
This is the harsh reality. Some of the stuff that you read online today, yesterday or last month, weren’t 100% accurate.
Far from it! But, they did their job.
They got your attention and they got you reading. So, you’ll need to find a unique angle that’s indirectly related to your company.
This needs to be a new story, otherwise it isn’t news. And the more outrageous, the better.
There are a few factors that need to be considered when getting the story out too, like customising the message for each recipient (aka the press).
This is kind of like B2B remember, so don’t expect to send the same story out to the masses – try and offer some form of exclusivity if possible.
You’ll need to understand what that journalist or blogger writes about and understand their audiences and cater to them.
In reality, no matter how good you think the story is, if the journalist doesn’t think it has legs, then it won’t get published. Convincing the press to listen to you is a serious aspect of this exercise.
Be sure that your company’s message is value driven too, so as not to appear to be selfish – even though that’s exactly what we are.
With this in mind, wait until the very last sentence for the call to action; a discount, a coupon code, a social media trigger or any offer that’s related to the story and business. This is why we’re doing all this, don’t forget.
A great story is always good, but it needs to have a purpose in the long term.
Most big businesses won’t need to do press releases and look to create buzz through PR stunts often because they’ll feel that they’re already well known.
This is great news for you because you’ll have less competition for the front pages.
Okay, ideally a ‘PR stunt’ is what we’re after, but it doesn’t have to be like that because you can easily turn nothing into something just by overdosing it with creativity and uniqueness.
Top your PR stunt off with a headline that catches attention; think punchy and completely unique. Include content that’s valuable, exclusive and sharable.
Make it a story, and make that a brief one!
But, more than anything make it worth talking about (and worth writing about in the first place).