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Five Ways to Create News
Many organizations could be more proactive about creating positive publicity, but they believe they have "nothing to say." The everyday activities that you often take for granted may be fascinating stories to someone on the outside. Here are five techniques for developing news even when your organization believes there is nothing worthwhile to announce:

1. Milestones
Metrorail in Houston anticipated its 20 millionth rider in early 2006, so the transit agency thanked patrons with prizes and entertainment on "20 Millionth Rider Day ." When Rolling Stone magazine published its 1,000th issue, the publication planned a huge party. (In fact, Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone Founder, fired his publisher over a dispute about the party location!) You don't have to create negative news like that, but what about planning an event when your organization reaches a milestone like:
•  Your 10,000th patient?
•  Your 15th anniversary?
•  1,000 days without an occupational injury?
•  An employee's 40th year on the job?

2. Awards or Recognition
The American Cancer Society in late 2005 honored Senator Dianne Feinstein with the Society's first-ever National Distinguished Advocacy Award.
Could your company create an award that befits your industry? Is there an influential ally who deserves recognition? Does your firm ever receive awards or recognition? Does your agency ever get re-certified? Does your school or facility receive accreditation? Why not publicize those forms of recognition?

3. Event
What special days, weeks and months exist within your industry? You can contact your trade association to find out. Or you can look for Chase's Calendar of Annual Events at your library, which will tell you, for example, that:
•  March 30 is Doctors Day
•  July 26 is the birthday of Bert, the Sesame Street character
•  October is Computer Learning Month

What's an important day for your organization? The San Francisco Symphony, for example, created a series of events around the 60th birthday of its music director, Michael Tilson Thomas.

What can you do to take advantage of such opportunities? An Assisted Living Facility could use National Nurses' Day (May 6) to stage an event to generate publicity by inviting the public in for cake and punch; it could have a "cap ceremony" where all the nurses wear the cap of their nursing school; it could have some nurses wearing vintage nurse uniforms that day; it could present an award for Nurse of the Year; it could bring in a famous nurse and have her keynote a special program, for example.

4. Operational Activities
Why not take advantage of things that are an everyday part of your operation as a way to make news and promote your facility? You can have a huge impact if you can give a reporter an idea of what goes on behind closed doors.

If your organization does a Safety/Preparedness Review, when you receive your report, invite the media in to take pictures and cover the "story." It will let your community know that your facility is prepared for a disaster and it will exude all sorts of confidence about your facility.

Think in terms of new equipment or new staff. Issue a news release about an unusual piece of equipment that was just purchased. Invite a reporter (and a photographer) to view the machine in operation.

5. Surveys
The media loves studies, particularly because today they are trying to fill a 24 hour news hole and they are hungry for content. You can fairly easily create a survey and share the results with editors to generate coverage about your organization. Why not work in conjunction with a local college to develop the survey and compile the data? For example, a wireless telecommunications provider could poll subscribers to learn how many have landline service as well. An adult learning institution could do a survey on how many people over age 65 have an e-mail account.

If your company does a customer satisfaction surveys, are you telling your community what you're doing well, based on the data from that survey?. How could you promote your company as a result of those surveys? You could issue a news release, run an item in a newsletter, send a direct mail postcard, place an ad in the local paper. What about doing a tie-in with the end of the school term? You could say, "We got our report card!"

 

 


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