Controversy is secret ingredient that can turn your story from one that media ignore to one reporters want to own.
But controversy must be chosen wisely and carefully. Not just any controversy will do. You must pick a controversy that will serve you well.
To ignite a controversy, you must first point out a threat to public. Second, you must identify villain responsible for that threat. Third, you must position your company as hero that opposes threat and villain.
All of this must be done subtly. The public must never see your company pulling strings. If you appear to be setting up a straw man just to knock it down, you will lose credibility rather than gain it.
Let’s begin with task of finding, isolating and identifying a risk to public. The place to start is with your product or service. What problem does it solve? Whom does it serve?
All business is a matter of solving a problem for someone. A plumber solves problems of leaking faucets and back-up sewers. A tax attorney solves problems of IRS audits and unsheltered income. A convenience store solves problem of needing quick purchase of a quart of milk.
Every company solves at least one problem. Spend some time analyzing problems your company solves every day. Make a list. Go over list with your employees or co-workers. Uncover every problem or potential problem that your company can handle.
Beside each listed problem, list categories of customers or clients that would use your service to solve these problems. Include not only current categories, but also categories you believe you should be reaching, but aren’t.
Don’t worry about going overboard. Later on, you can always scratch out any categories that don’t make sense.
For now, just brainstorm.
The next step is to weigh each of these identified problems as a true threat to public. We do this by asking ourselves three questions about each problem:
1. Is this a problem that will truly create an intense concern among our consumers?
2. Is probability high – or, at least, moderate – that average consumer will face this problem at some time?