Where Do PR Ideas Come From?

clip_image002By Will Dylan

As a small business owner looking to give your marketing a gigantic boost through PR activities that will score valuable publicity for your business, there’s one question that you’ll definitely encounter: where do the ideas come from to help you catch a reporter’s attention?

The usual advice often doesn’t cut it…

The usual advice on press releases is to announce things like new products, significant company events, and so on. Sound advice, but have you seen how many news releases are issued every day? Your 10th anniversary or new product isn’t likely to drive much coverage for you (unless the product is truly revolutionary).

If you want an endless supply of ideas, you need to stop thinking about what you are doing, and start thinking about what your customers are doing.

“Sell the Story, not the Store”

The old saw in the PR business is, “sell the story, not the store.” Look at what your customers are doing, how their lives are changing, and what that means to your business. Share that story with a reporter and position yourself as an expert in your field.

A great example…

The owner of a local maid service cashed in on some significant publicity for her small business by identifying a customer trend and sharing it with a reporter.

She noticed that, in her local market, she was seeing an increase in the number of residential households hiring her maids to clean their house once a week. Of particular interest was the fact that these were modest homes, usually owned by a typical suburban family with one or two kids, often with dual-income parents.

In asking some of her clients about their reasons for hiring her company, she found that “time” was at the top of the list; they wanted more time with their families and found that with their busy lifestyles, hiring a maid was one way to spend less time working around the house and more time doing things as a family. So, despite the added cost, these families found it worthwhile to pay for someone to clean their home.

The result…

The owner emailed a local reporter and highlighted the trend. She offered to be available to be part of a story if they wanted her to comment, and even lined up a client who was willing to have their home featured in the newspaper if they wanted a picture to go with the story.

The reporter took this information and added some facts about demographics in the local area that were changing the face of a number of local businesses. The result was a story that featured prominently the business owner and her maid service, resulting in thousands of dollars in free publicity.

Notice that she didn’t need to write a press release about a new product or something else that was all about her business. Instead, she found a story about her customers and tied it back to her business.

Ideas to attract publicity for your small business can come from activities you are undertaking, but you’ll find that you’ll get many more ideas from being observant about your customers’ needs and lifestyles.

About Will Dylan

Will Dylan created MarketingYourSmallBusiness.com, a top-ranked website for small business publicity and marketing advice for business owners. He also writes a blog featuring tips to help business owners grow their business through publicity.

By Adam

August 27, 2010