Want to know how to land your company media coverage in the Chicago Tribune, NPR, Bloomberg News, USA Today, CNBC, the Washington Post, the New York Post and several other local and national media outlets?

Here’s the secret.

Put LOVE in your ingredient list. 

Rolled oats, brown sugar, nuts and, yes, love!

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Nashoba Brook Bakery, calling into question the West Concord, Massachusetts-based baker and wholesaler’s ingredients listed in its granola.

There was one ingredient that the FDA specifically questioned. 

“Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,’” the agency wrote in its letter dated September 22nd. “‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.”

Nashoba Chief Executive Officer John Gates said the FDA’s response to “love” listed as an ingredient, “just felt so George Orwell… just feels so silly.”

Silly maybe, but from a PR perspective, the FDA’s reaction is incredibly lucky.  A company couldn’t order a better ready-made story. 

But the real secret here is that the company recognized this for what it was – a remarkable media opportunity.  They released the story to the press and it soared. 

Before last week, the number of people who had heard of Nashoba Granola was much smaller.  Now, millions have and they know that LOVE is listed in their ingredient list, regardless of the FDA’s objections. 

As a business owner or entrepreneur, your take-away and the real public relations 101 lesson here is that your story isn’t always where you think it is.  That’s not an easy lesson to learn.  Most people believe they know their story.  They are 100% convinced that they know exactly what will interest the media (simply because it interests them) and – most of the time they’re 100% wrong.

The secret to effective PR is to find the story that interests the media, not the story that interests you.

Chances are (unless he’s incredibly media savvy) that the owner of Nashoba Granola believed that the company’s story revolved around what made their granola so tasty or distinctive.

Wrong.

Their story was how the FDA reacted to their ingredient list. 

Not everyone receives an FDA letter that makes for such a great story.

But, everyone does have a story that is different, special, distinctive, unusual unexpected, or under-the-radar.

So…

What is your perfect PR story?

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