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5 ways to create news out of thin air

5 ways to create news out of thin air

If you’re lucky, you work for an employer that is always doing something newsworthy. It’s easy to write a press release when your company has just hired a superstar CEO, released a blockbuster new product, produced an Oscar®-winning film, erected a sparkly new building or invented a cure for a dreaded disease. But few public relations professionals are that lucky. Most of the time, it’s “business as usual”…and sometimes the day-to-day grind just isn’t that “newsy.”

Unfortunately for you, a lack of real news doesn’t stop your CMO or CEO from demanding a steady stream of press releases starring your employer. (As more and more companies rely on news releases for SEO purposes, these demands will become more common.)

You know you can’t spam your journalist and editor contacts with non-news, or like the boy who cried “wolf,” your “real” news may be ignored in future. So what can you do, when you have to crank out a release, in the absence of anything new to report?

How to create a press release when you have nothing “newsy” to report

  1. Comment on a trending news story. One of our clients was a relationship coach with a unique perspective about why women cheat. When it was suddenly revealed that a country music star had stepped out on her new husband, the story exploded in Google News and social media. We drafted a press release for our client with his expert comments on the alleged infidelity, and within hours the news release had attracted nearly 4,000 readers.
  2. Talk to your sales staff (or the folks in your organization who have the most contact with your customers or clients.) One of your customer-facing colleagues may know about a customer’s discovery of a new use for one of your old products, or may have a compelling (and unusual) case history to share. Perhaps your team can clue you into new industry trends that your clients are dealing with, or new features or products they need to stay competitive.
  3. Comment on pending laws or regulations. Is yours a small business that will have to cut workers because of Obamacare mandates? Is a new sales tax going to hurt your revenues? Will proposed tariffs or a trade war make it hard for you to compete overseas? Is the value of the dollar affecting the costs of imported raw materials? It may be appropriate for your CEO to make herself available for comments on the issue, via a press release to your local talk radio station or business journal.
  4. Create calendar-based news. Every PR professional can benefit from creating a promotion-planning calendar that is specific to your business or industry. A calendar of holidays and observances can help you create seasonal promotions and stories. If you’re in the healthcare industry, you have a huge list of observances to choose from. Did you know April is “Foot Health Awareness Month?” If you work for an athletic shoe retailer, you might be able to generate a story with that information.
  5. Survey your customers. A free account at SurveyMonkey.com will allow you to poll up to 100 of your customers or clients, asking them up to 10 questions. The survey will have SurveyMonkey branding in it, but you can customize surveys with more questions and company branding for an additional fee. If you need hardcore, detailed analytics (for use by your marketing department or product development staff, for example) you might opt for a more corporate-oriented survey provider like FluidSurveys.com. FluidSurveys.com also has a free level that allows you to create unlimited surveys with up to 150 responses each.

With these tips, you’ll never have to send out a bland, boring press advisory. You can help your media partners create content that is relevant (and publication-ready), which makes it easier to get your company’s name in the news.

About 

Public Relations consultant Kathleen Hanover has been attracting media coverage with high-impact press releases and public relations campaigns for nearly 27 years. Her public relations work has earned coverage in local, regional, national and international newspapers, magazines, on television, radio, and online, including placements in top-tier publications including Popular Science, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Times, Associated Press, and many, many more.

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