The spring’s unseasonably cold weather here in Wisconsin–complete with wool socks, furnaces at full blast and hot soup for lunch–is a good reminder about one of the easiest ways to gerate publcity–by piggybacking your story idea off the weather.
After sweating through a week of 100-degree temperatures a few summers ago, Publicity Hound John Landsberg of Bottom Line Communications in Kansas City, Missouri was aching to get his client into a column of heatwave-related items that appeared daily in the Kansas City Star.
But what can you say about a window tinting shop that’s remotely interesting? John called the client and found that, sure enough, the heatwave had prompted more people to have their windows tinted to keep their cars cooler. So John fired off a news release about the spike in business.
The strategy–so very simple–worked. The window tinting shop found its way not only into the Kansas City Star column, but onto a local radio station and into a smaller community paper. John put his best Publicity Hound instincts to work and also sent news releases to the local TV weather forecasters. Voila! The weather forecaster on KSHB-TV Channel 41, the NBC affiliate, mentioned tinted windows as a great way to beat the heat.
And here’s the amazing part.
“The reporter who I talked to at the Kansas City Star said I was the only local PR person she knew of who sent a news release related to the weather,” John said.
Why, oh why, do so many PR people and self-promoters miss these golden opportunities to get free print space and air time by failing to tie their story ideas to the weather? When I worked as a newspaper reporter, writing weather stories was one of my least favorite assignments because I had to spend hours on the phone tracking down people who were affected by snowstorms, heatwaves, droughts, or torrential rains.
Starting today, I want all you Hounds to start paying attention to what’s happening right outside your window. The weather–more than any other topic I know of–consistently affects the greatest number of people.