Why reading ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ will help develop a PR brain for your farm enterprise or rural business

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Oct 032011
 

"It's an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, Man had always assumed that he was the most intelligent species occupying the planet, instead of the *third* most intelligent. The second most intelligent creatures were of course dolphins who, curiously enough, had long known of the impending destruction of the planet earth."

Douglas Adams, 'The Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy'.

A much loved radio play and book, 'The Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy'  takes an ordinary man, Arthur Dent (in his dressing gown), on an extraordinary journey. Douglas Adams' brilliance is in his ability to look at life side on, find the quirkiness and entertain us by juxtaposing the everyday and the bizarre.

If you want to get regular coverage in the press and media for your farm enterprise or rural business, you need to send stories (or press releases) to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations. For those stories to have any chance of getting published, you need to find that all important angle that turns your story from dull to daring, everyday to extra-ordinary, boring to brilliant. Juxtaposing the everyday with the unusual, absurd or unexpected is one sure fire way to find an angle.

What's the point of trying to get coverage in the media?
Free publicity, that's what it's all about. For a new or expanding business, stories in the press are a great way to get across your business name, brand and ethos.

What does a PR brain do that's so special?
The PR brain makes connections between the world of your business and the world of your potential customers to create great stories. Why? To amuse, entertain or inform readers. Happy readers make happy editors.

A PR brain has certain key attributes.

  • highly observant.
  • people watcher
  • avid reader.
  • collector of stories.
  • endlessly curious
  • thinks laterally
  • understands drama
  • delights in the absurd
  • excels in detective work

Feeds on video, film, art, music, TV, news and popular culture
(So go ahead spend the afternoon at a gallery or catching a movie….. it's all "research")

Tools the PR brain uses.

  • Thinking laterally. Place foodie stories in gardening magazines. Less competition
  • Juxtaposition: photo of tractor and wigwam sent to the farming press by Wigwam holidays , instantly put the idea of a wigwam campsite into farmers' minds.
  • Curiosity: ask your customers for their stories. Remember the mother who gave birth in a car? Of course she named her daughter "Kia".
  • Camera: Build your photo library. A picture can be the story. Goat up a tree. Snoozer in a deck chair. Use the image to find a story. 'Napping Britons miss out on release of new time management software'.
  • Notebook: jot down ideas for stories when you're out and about, listening to the radio, watching TV, reading the papers, on Twitter, Facebook or You Tube.

When a picture makes the story

Pigs in wellies

What editor wouldn't print this little cutie?

Why do you need to develop a PR brain?
Editors get inundated with stories. Interesting, relevant, quirky and newsworthy stories are the ones that avoid the bin.

Applying the tools.
You want examples don't you?

If your customers are avid X Factor fans, launch an X- Factor style competition to find the winning cockerel crow. Get people to send in their videos and photos of their pride and joy doing the early morning performance. Write up the story of the competition and profile the winner, send to a small holder magazine and the winner's local paper, with photo of the proud winning cockerel.

Vintage is everywhere – crockery, clothes, advertising. It's nostalgia, a yearning for a golden age when life was simpler but more authentic. Dress characters up in 50s clothes and getting them to pose around your furniture drinking tea out of vintage cups for a Vintage Day. A good photo with story is bound to get you a piece in the local paper. Link your business with values of authenticity and simplicity.

Rugby fans in your target audience? Produce limited edition six nations products e.g. ear rings or cup cakes. A good photo and short piece will be timely if you get it released in the run up to the tournament.

Go now and buy or borrow Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy. It won't tell you how to write a press release but it will tune up your sense of the absurd, a great asset for any PR Brain.

© Juliet Fay 2011.
 


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