Picture this! Richard Branson and Lady Gaga do it…

Staging a stunt is a tried and true way of getting attention for your brand or product – Richard Branson and Lady Gaga are famous for them – their antics never fail to give the media outrageous photo opportunities and get crowds of people talking on and offline.

Closer to home, you’ll find examples of PR stunts a plenty.  From the Opera House turning pink for breast cancer awareness, to Guinness world record attempts like Surfers Paradise’s biggest bikini parade.

For a stunt to work and get media attention, it needs to be bold, bright, controversial and/or quirky. Anything less, won’t get a run.

While that might sound like a big ask, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a massive budget to pull it off. You just need be smart about it especially when you are a DIY PR.

Here are PR Guru’s top tips for how to stage a PR stunt and get media attention:

  1. A picture says a thousand words – Make it a photo opportunity. Your stunt has got to be visually appealing and make for a great image.
  2. It’s all in a name. If you have the budget to involve a celebrity or high profile person, this can help get media attention. This could be a sportsperson, actor, model or chef. If you don’t have budget to draw in a big name, babies, children and animals can help you bring in the cute factor.
  3. Location location! Where you hold your stunt needs to be easy for media to get to and if it’s a place that naturally attracts a lot of foot traffic that’s a bonus as you can draw a crowd of on-lookers too.
  4. Get your timing right. Think about when your stunt will be most likely to have most impact and when you can get a photographer or film crew to attend. Late in the day or too early in the morning may not be the best options. In your planning stages it might be worth talking to your pictorial editor to check when works best for them so you avoid organising the photo opportunity during their deadline.
  5. What’s your message? What do you want to communicate and to who? How will your stunt do this? Will you create banners/posters? Is there a connection between your stunt and your message – if not, you risk losing your audience and creating confusion.
  6. Notify the media in advance. Contact the pictorial editor with a media notification explaining the what, why, who, where and when, at least a few days ahead. You could also contact the news editors or journalists that cover the social pages or gossip columns – whichever is most relevant to your stunt. Make sure you’re in their diary.
  7. Don’t rely on the media – organise your own photography. Publicity is great when you get it but there are no guarantees that the media will turn up as they may be called elsewhere.  So, make sure you organise to have professional photos taken on the day. If no media attend, send these photos to the media as soon as possible (same day). Make sure you include industry media, local media or even metro media – yes they will run these if they’re good. Include a caption with a short press release.
  8. Spread the word through social media. On the day, upload your photos onto Facebook and tweet about your event as it evolves.

For more DIY PR tips, have a sneak preview of PR Guru’s DIY Publicity Guide. Need media contacts? Check out our Australian media lists – they’re the same ones PR professionals use!

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