Looking for some ink, air time or online publicity in the next few weeks? Consider these controversial holiday stories:
Annual brag letters. Do you cringe when you receive a “year in review” letter inside a Christmas card from a friend or family member? Or do you appreciate the update? Are these letters inconsiderate, or a practical way of staying in touch? Etiquette experts can offer guidelines for writing them.
Cell phones for kids. Children 10 and younger are pestering their parents to buy them cell phones for Christmas. But does a 10-year-old need one? If you’re a retailer, parenting expert, telecommunications company, safety expert, or you just have an opinion on the issue, weigh in. PC World published an article on this topic.
“Keep Christ in Christmas.” This argument is raging once again. Radio talk shows, especially, love this topic because it generates heat and makes blood boil on both sides of the debate.
Regifting. Lots of people are doing it without apology or embarrassment. Etiquette experts and others can comment on whether regifting is tacky or practical, and tips to follow if you’re regifting. (See the cover story on regifting in the Nov. 24-26 issue of USA Weekend magazine)
Gift cards. Some people are insulted when they receive them. Any practical tips to pass along about the types of gift cards that are OK and those that are tacky? By the way, the Better Business Bureau warns gift-givers about the scam in which thieves “steal” balances from gift cards–thus making the gift-cards you give to others worthless.
The office party. Should women wear clothing to the office party that they wouldn’t wear to work? How much booze is too much booze? Career experts and others can share horror stories about how people have put their jobs in jeopardy because of the way they’ve acted. Is there any way to recover if you’ve made a pass at your boss while drunk?
If you’re pitching a story to the media, or serving as an expert source on these topics or others, don’t just have a transaction with the media. Turn it into a relationship.
In the interview I did with George McKenzie called “Get Free Publicity in Print”, I looked back on my 22 years working in four newsrooms and shared the most helpful things that my sources did to build relationships with me and other journalists on my staffs.
For example, don’t just pitch stories about you or your PR clients. Pitch stories that don’t have anything to do with you. Journalists (and bloggers) will remember this thoughtful gesture, and they’ll be more inclined to write about you the next time you contact them.