If you want news coverage for your brand, make news. If you don't have any legitimate news, then make noise.
There is a lot of competition for coverage — in the traditional press, trade press and blogosphere. Sending cookie-cutter press releases is akin to folding a paper airplane and pushing it out the window.
Even press releases with sharp story hooks may not turn into coverage because of bad timing or a reporter is chasing what he or she thinks is better story. Reporters face a new dynamic in how they are evaluated and compensated — their ability to post stories that attract clicks and reader reaction. A great story that elicits a broad smile is not as valuable these days as a story that will spark online comments.
That's where noise fits in. Noisy subjects elicit reactions, which is what reporters and editors want.
Making noise involves something quite different than adding audio or video to your press release. It means finding or creating activity that is noisy enough to break the sound barrier of today's crowded marketplace.
Dewey Weddington, who calls himself the Chief Fermentor at Ferment Marketing, describes how he created noise for SakeOne by teaming with prominent chefs in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills and, of course, Portland. He provided sake to each chef and allowed them total freedom to create dishes using the product.
Writers in Chicago showed up because of their curiosity at the idea of pairing food with sake based on its aroma, flavor and texture. The gambit earned coverage in Beverly Hills at the Red O because of the seeming paradox of pairing sake with Mexican cuisine. A similar sensation was created at Andina in Portland, which paired its Peruvian-influenced offerings with sake, earning it valuable TV coverage.
In addition to local media coverage, the series of dinners spawned by the promotion landed SakeOne on the Bon Apetit website.
One of the best examples of a brand making noise is Red Bull, which sponsors edgy events to underline its brand personality. Red Bull doesn't depend exclusively on media coverage; it publishes its own news vehicle to tout the active, thrill-seeking lifestyle it promotes.
And who can forget KFC's famous promotion that involved 1,000 Colonel Sanders look-alikes around midtown New York handing out product, then later having all 1,000 colonels sitting in a block of seats at Yankee Stadium. It produced huge buzz and a day-full of media coverage on print, electronic and online media.
Making noise is the stuff of marketing PR. Events, clever ideas and unusual promotions can be noisy and newsworthy, even if there really isn't any news.