How to use a press release to get great coverage when you don’t have any news

Press releases don’t have to line journalists’ litter boxes. They can be timely, relevant and interesting. Here’s how two companies did it.

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“Get me some coverage,” the CEO says.

So the communicator conjures up a press release even though the company doesn’t really have anything to announce. The press release hits the inbox of reporters and bloggers, who glance at it in disgust and drag it to the trash folder.

This dance is repeated thousands of times weekly. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are smart, clever and creative ways to drum up coverage even if you don’t have something momentous to announce.

One gimmick I particularly like is leveraging something else making news. I’m not talking about Kenneth Cole trying to link a fashion sale to the uprising in Egypt. You have to be more clever than that.

Several months ago, for example, a YouTube video featured two babies babbling back and forth to each other. Children’s Hospital of Boston blogger Tripp Underwood saw all the attention the video was getting and then realized the hospital had a speech language pathologist on staff.

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