A viral PR stunt can cause your brand, your website and your products to spread virally. Of all the different kinds of viral traffic you can try to get, viral PR is one of the toughest. Instead of just convincing people to “Share” a piece of content, you need to create a stunt so compelling that a journalist will actually pick it up and print it in a physical newspaper.
If you can achieve that, then your viral PR stunt was a success. Naturally, if you create a stunt good enough to get press attention, you’ll also get a ton of shares, likes and blogger mentions.
How do you create a viral PR stunt that grabs media attention?
==> Make People Say “What?”
When people hear about your idea, their first reaction should be “what?” In other words, their heads turn, they stop in their tracks and have to re-read that headline just to make sure they heard it right.
It needs to be outside the box. So far outside the box, in fact, that it’s never been done before.
Take the “Peanut Protest” for example. Mark McGowan, in protest for his student debt, pushed a peanut for two weeks from his school to the Prime Minister. He used just his nose the whole time to push the peanut as he pushed it down the sidewalk. He asked the Prime Minister to take the peanut in lieu of his debt.
He got a ton of press coverage for this stunt. Camera crews followed him everywhere. One big reason for it was that it was just so outside the box.
==> It Has Several Iterations
The best PR stunts are ones that have several iterations.
In other words, it shouldn’t end after the first news cycle. Instead, journalists and bloggers should be able to talk about it again and again and again.
You can do this by making the event an annual event. You can also do it by stretching an event out. Taking the “Peanut Protest” example, Mark McGowan got a solid two weeks of coverage instead of just one news story because of how long the challenge took.
==> Link It to Your Business
It’s hard to come up with a PR stunt that grabs attention. It’s even harder to come up with one that links well with your business.
Your goal isn’t just to do something off the wall that gets people to write about it. Your goal should be to generate a lot of buzz and press for your business.
If you own a cake shop, perhaps dress up as a giant edible cake. If you run a car dealership, sell a car for $1 in some sort of contest. Link the viral PR stunt to your business somehow.
Before you launch, ask your friends and family how outside the box the idea sounds. If they think it sounds absolutely nuts, you’re on the right track.