When you submit a press release to the newswire you want it to get picked up by the most (and hopefully on-target) publications as possible. You want to spread the news, right? Isn’t that what a press release is all about? You want to spread the news to as many people as possible in a short amount of time. You want them to know about your new product or service. You want them to know about the cool award you garnered from some website or organization. Time and again you hear that you need a press release to be “newsworthy.” Why would anyone pick up your story if it’s really not new anyone wants to read about? And one of the best ways to make your release newsworthy is to make it controversial!
If you have a controversial press release, you’re taking a chance at offending a segment of the population. Ideally, the offended parties are 1) not mortally wounded emotionally or mentally and 2) not your target market. Here are some tips to create a controversial press release that walks the fine line of being newsworthy and debatable enough to be picked up by the various publications and sites, but not to the point of disgusting the larger population of the world wide web.
1 – Look at current news topics. What is going on in the news currently that you can take and apply to your press release? If so, don’t go with the popular opinion. Go against the flow and position your press release in a way that it challenges the current stance. Trying to sell your step by step guide to becoming a loan officer? State your case for why NOW is the best time to become a mortgage broker.
2 – Create a controversy when there isn’t one. Say you are promoting your “Doggie DNA” service. Maybe you don’t have any good stories to tell. But what would be a controversial reason that a person would use your service? The title “Did Your Dog Breeder Sell You A Lie?” comes to mind…with the slant that a dog owner should double-check their pedigreed pooches.
3 – Listen to the boneheads in your life. You know, those people who talk and you wonder how few brain cells they actually have? Or, maybe they’re smart but just really, really quirky? Well, sometimes their logic is just off-kilter enough to make a great twist to your press release. Because sometimes even wacky people have some good thoughts…
4 – Use pop culture. Was Britney the inspiration behind your fatbusting exercise ebook? Did the ol’ Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson debacle at that Superbowl a few years back spark your invention of a heavy-duty fabric fastener? Make it relevant to today (that means no references to people or television shows so old that your target market will be scratching their heads in wonder) and then have at it.
5 – Don’t be offensive. Obviously, the number one rule with controversial press releases is to be interesting/controversial, not offensive/controversial. You don’t want to anger the ACLU or get people staking out your home and picketing. But then again, maybe the publicity is worth it…