Finding News When There Isn’t Any

In between the CEO’s office and the mailroom, you can always find interesting company stories and opportunities to get into the news media. Several years back while serving at a large marketing firm I was tasked with handling PR for a large pencil manufacturer.

That’s right – pencils. It was quite a challenge because at the time there wasn’t much happening in the world of writing instruments. Perhaps the only real excitement had come a decade earlier when new advancements came to the mechanical version. Bottom line, it was pretty difficult to make a pencil maker interesting. I’m sure you get the point. But I took it as a chance to sharpen my PR skills and come out of the box with a few ideas to help bring sexy back to the pencil company.

The first option in my PR trapper keeper was to have the pencil maker sponsor a state-wide contest on the most creative drawing using a #2 pencil. The contest was a success and it generated media attention all over the country for the age-old pencil manufacturer. Companies in every industry see the writing on the wall when they struggle to find topics. Whether you’re in a stodgy industry, or if you want to create buzz for a product that isn’t available yet, or even if there is absolutely nothing going on with your company, there are proven PR tools you can use to generate some buzz. In addition to surveys, find some interesting customer or employee stories, do a publicity stunt, get in the middle of a controversial political issue, or provide expert commentary on a financial or celebrity gaffe currently taking place in the media. The goal is to get involved with the daily media conversation and use the opportunity to push your agenda to promote your company.