What’s your number: A strategy for publicity

September 26, 2014

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

I spend a little time in the Shred School workshops talking about the use of press releases to get publicity. Over the years, I have found that most secure destruction companies miss the opportunity to use them effectively due to a number of misconceptions.

  1. They aim at the wrong target.
  2. They don’t properly frame them as news.
  3. They don’t feel they have anything that is newsworthy to report.

Neither time nor space permit a full exploration of these issues but I want to share a trick I learned long ago that can help you with the first two points above. It’s called “What’s your number?” Here’s how it works. All businesses have their number. It could be you added your fifth mobile truck. It could be that you shredded your one millionth pound of documents. It could be your tenth year in business or you served your one thousandth customer.

Properly framed, your number can be positioned as newsworthy, making it more likely to be seen by media outlets, especially local news outlets and industry buying groups (e.g., local ARMA, ASIS, IFMA chapters). It’s a way of promoting your success without appearing too self-promotional.

Now that does not mean your number allows you to publish a release that is blatantly self-serving. In fact, editors quickly dismiss releases that are primarily promotional. Something like “ABC Shredding, the largest and most reliable data destruction service in the city, destroys its one millionth hard drive,” will be summarily tossed. However, something like, “ABC Shredding destroys its one millionth hard drive, as electronic media disposal becomes an increasingly important issue,” is far more likely to be seen as news worth reporting. The rest of the release would then focus on the problem of improperly discarded computers.

No organization gets all their press releases published. However, distributing press releases still has a good payoff, too good to be disregarded.