When Dan Collins had to drum up publicity for the opening of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, he stayed away from the cliche ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Instead, he thought of as many news angles as he could.
There were the “magnet physicians” the hospital had recruited and that attracted other doctors. Then there was the story idea he dubbed “The Little Hospital That Could.” It was his way of explaining how the medical center bucked the national trend of other hospitals its size in major cities that are either closing, merging or becoming part of a mega-system.
But my favorite was the story idea about “Female Friendly Hospitals.”
“The building itself had been designed for women, like putting restrooms in all the exam rooms, because women didn’t like walking down the hallways holding their gowns closed,” he said.
The media loved those ideas and gave the hospital lots of print and TV coverage for the grand opening. And Dan didn’t have to embarrass himself by calling an editor and asking, “Can you please take a photo of our ribbon-cutting?”
Dan is one of the most creative P.R. people I know. Suggest a boring check-passing ceremony and he’ll come up with a fun event that just begs to be covered. Ask him what he thinks of your plans for a ground-breaking ceremony and he’ll suggest, instead, an event the media will flock to.
He shared all his tips, including advice on how to draw media attention for things like company anniversaries and those boring awards ceremonies, during a teleseminar I hosted a few years ago called “Fun Alternatives to Boring Ground-breakings, Ribbon-cuttings and Check-passings.”