vending machine dispenses live crabs

Fancy a snack? This vending machine dispenses live crabs!

Q: My boss says our company needs public relations. She told me to find something interesting to write about and then send a press release to the local news media. How can I tell if something I find interesting will be interesting to a reporter?

A: You are right that there’s a line between merely interesting and newsworthy. To find that line, apply what we call the “So what?” test. To pass the test, you need good answers to three questions:

What’s new? Is your news truly new, different or special?

Who cares? Will many people outside your company care about this?

What’s the difference? Will this make a difference to others or the community?

To practice and sharpen your “So what” skills, take this News or Not News Quiz.

Quiz: News or Not News? 

  1. Your office has a new vending machine! It has a nifty neon panel. Is this news? YES or NO?
  2. Your office has a new vending machine that dispenses live crabs! You imported it from China and it’s the first of its kind in the United States! Is this news? YES or NO?
  3. Your boutique hotel has a concierge who books theater tickets, makes dinner reservations and knows the best dry cleaner in town. Is this news? YES or NO?
  4. Your boutique hotel has a concierge with a knack for fulfilling unusual requests. He just handled a doozy – helping an art-mad guest who was on a quest to see all 36 existing paintings by Vermeer, one of which was privately held by the Queen of England! The concierge got the client into a gallery in Buckingham Palace off limits to the public. Is this news? YES or NO?

Click here for the answers (and interesting links).

Even if you don’t have a shellfish vending machine or access to royal art, do not despair. News can be made! Survey your customers on a hot topic. Create something, rip something down, throw a huge party to benefit a nonprofit. There are lots of ways to get media attention.

To learn more about earned media, call Hollister Creative at 484.829.0021 or email [email protected]. We can work with you on a public relations plan to get your company in the news in a positive way.


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