Vanilla with a Side of Vanilla

Cupcakes with cherriesWhile the title of this post may lead those who know me well to believe that I am finally going to blog about cupcakes, I regret to inform you that this is not the case. Well, not exactly, at least. Although it is my soft serve and frosting flavor of choice, I am not a universal fan of vanilla. When I see it in news, I simply cringe.

Yes, there are the obligatory news items – a new hire, a promotion, a new office – you get the idea. But do some of the standard ‘vanilla’ news items need to be wrapped without sprinkles, without dragees and without a little ganache? (Read: glitz, allure and panache.) Even when the budget doesn’t allow for a big splash, there are ways to turn your vanilla into caramel with a pinch of fleur de sel on top.

We’ve Moved. . .2.5 Miles
Congratulations! You relocated your office 2.5 miles down the road, in the same town, with the same square footage and without hiring any new staff. The good news is that you still have news. The bad news is that your competitor made a similar move — to an office nearly double the size of its predecessor, that is. So what can you do to make your ribbon cutting memorable? (A) Make a donation to a charity the night if your ribbon cutting, (B) Invite dignitaries to cut the ribbon, or (C) Give your event a quirky (but appropriate) theme. There is no wrong answer. Even when you have an obligatory news item to issue, there is a way to make it stand out and resonate with your key audiences.

You’ve Won. . .
Winning an award is a wonderful thing. But some awards are a bit obscure and the people who read the Green Acres Daily may not have a clue what the TwitterWit of the year award recognizes. Consequently, they may not buy tickets to the event at which you are honored. So how does the organization that has given the award for 50+ years attract attendees and make their repeat news unique? (A) Accept relevant donations for a local charity at the door (i.e. women’s business attire for Dress for Success, canned goods for the local food pantry, blankets for the pet shelter, etc.), (B) Join forces with another vanilla award ceremony, or (C) Not issue a news release and photo from the event this year. That way it will seem new next year. While (C) is blatantly wrong and (B) could work if carefully planned and executed, (A) is ideal. Your organization looks like a good neighbor, you attract new event attendees who want to show support for your cause and people remember that you gave back.

I’m not saying that tying your event or news in with a nonprofit donation is a universal fix, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Yet, many organizations scoop out the vanilla day in and day out. As we often tell our clients, run your news past the ‘who cares’ test. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Think about what you already do that you can do better. These simple steps will take you from grocery store cupcakes to couture confections. . .errr. . .bland news to memorable news. . .that will resonate with audiences for years to come.

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