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Slow Day? Create News

Sometimes there seems to be no client news worthy of coverage. That's when the savvy PR pro digs deep into the old bag of tricks and pulls out one of these ideas to perk things up:

* The List

* The Index

* The Hall of Fame.

Best of, worst of, most of, least of, top and bottom lists can be great ways to get coverage. Designer Mr. Blackwell made a career out of his Worst Dressed List. Country Music Television has turned this into an art form by not just developing the list but making a TV show out of it. Consider its 40 Best Drinking Songs.

You can use these lists to engage your own customers or readers. Do a survey and have them vote. I always like using odd numbers like 11 or seven instead of 10 for my lists. It seems to me they get better coverage. If you are going to develop one of these lists, don't be boring. Come up with something that has some controversy attached to it to ensure greater coverage.

The Consumer Confidence Index is one of the most well known of the indices. The CCI is an index that requires some heavy lifting to prepare, but you can develop one that is purely for publicity purposes. The National Association of Realtors developed the housing affordability index, an easy-to-compile index that shows how much income you need in order to afford a home of a certain purchase price.

My initial thought when I worked with Carolinas AGC to develop the Carolinas Construction Barometer was to come up with a publicity tool. However, when we enlisted UNCC to help us develop the methodology it quickly became a real tool that required a lot of work. So, be careful with this one or it can get away from you.

Finally, there is the Hall of Fame. You don't need bricks and mortar to have one. It can be virtual like Bill Stoller's PR Hall of Fame that exists online and in press releases but nowhere else.

So, the next time there is no news, do some media relations magic: create some out of thin air.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX and Verbatim.


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