I never guarantee you’ll get publicity by following my tips. But this tip falls into the category of an “almost guarantee.”
While watching the local FOX TV news recently, I saw a short news item about a group of first-graders at a Milwaukee elementary school. They were shown singing a song to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” But instead of singing about Old McDonald, they were singing about “Vince Condella’s Coats for Kids,” the annual charity drive named after the station’s chief meteorologist.
Cut to Condella in the TV studio, who was shown holding a coat that had been donated. He urged viewers to donate more coats because of the cold months ahead.
Most major media outlets have some kind of holiday or seasonal charity drive. If you or your company, nonprofit, government agency, school or service club can do something special to participate in the drive, chances are excellent that the media outlet will cover the story. At one newspaper where I worked, we loved printing stories, sometimes on the front page, about local groups that were supporting our “Clothe-a-Child” holiday drive in unusual ways. One company held a chili cook off. They sold the chili to their employees during lunch and donated all the money to our charity. A service club went door-to-door asking for donations. Of course, they got a story.
Is that easy or what? Keep your eyes open for holiday charity drives sponsored by your local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Consider pitching columnists, the weather person, the sportscaster, the drive-time deejay and anybody else who is involved.
The next two and a half months are packed with potential if you want publicity because you can tie your story ideas to holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. My friend, Shawne Duperon, a TV reporter, joined me for a telephone seminar called “103 Sizzling Story Ideas from July to December.” We spoon-feed you 103 story ideas and tell you which ones work best for print and which work best for TV. For example, the day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, and retailers can pitch stories about what they’re doing to bring more customer sinto their stores.