Tying celebrities to your news story can generate publicity you never dreamed of. But if the celebrity responds, the publicity can multiply.
That’s what happened to Elliott’s Hardware in Dallas, Texas yesterday when former President George W. Bush stopped in for a one-hour visit, bought a few items and joked that he was looking for a job. The Associated Press, which distributed the original story to its member media outlets when the hardware store offered Bush a job, distributed yesterday’s story after the visit, and it appeared, once again, in many newspapers and at news sites.
Here are three tips about piggybacking onto celebrity news, taken from my “Special Report #50: How to Pibbyback onto Celebrity News to Promote Your Product, Service, Cause or Issue”:
1. Sponsor a contest that piggybacks off celebrity news.
For as long as I can remember, the tabloids have been reporting on Oprah’s roller-coaster weight. First it’s up, then it’s down, then it’s up, then it’s down. If you’re a weight loss expert, you can sponsor a contest called “How Oprah Can Take off Those Last 20 Pounds—Forever.” Then write a press release and post it online. Or if you don’t want to go to the trouble of sponsoring a contest, and you can still find a tie-in, go with it.
That’s what Author Laura K. Bryant did. She wrote a press release about her book, “Trust Yourself to Transform Your Body: A Woman’s Guide to Health and Weight Loss Without Diets” and used a clever tie-in to Oprah. (You can read the release which is part of Lesson 50 in my free tutorial “89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases.”)
“I sent the press release to all the local news stations in Chicago,” she said. “This particular release got an immediate (within 2 minutes of it being sent) call from a WGN News producer, who requested my media kit. Once the kit was received, my book was highlighted on WGN News, as a ‘Hot Summer Read.'”
2. Piggyback your stories onto hot movie titles.
When the movie “Anger Management” was in theaters, I saw all sorts of stories that tied into that title. Ditto with the “Mission: Impossible” movies. Sometimes all you have to do is incorporate a hot movie title into your pitch and you’ll catch the media’s attention. Example: Trying to lose weight to fit into that new bikini? It isn’t Mission: Impossible.
3. Piggyback onto a network Movie of the Week.
Keep your eyes on the big network movies during sweeps months in May, November and February. Pitch story ideas that piggyback off movies. For example, when “The Burning Bed” with Farrah Fawcett was a major TV movie in 1984, I remember the local women’s abuse shelter in my community was the lead story on the local news that night, right after the movie ended, because it tied into the movie. If your company or nonprofit is “the local angle” to a big TV movie, contact the TV station that’s airing the movie. You could be the lead story on the 10 or 11 o’clock news that night. Also contact the TV stations if you want to weigh in with an opinion about a controversial movie.