Creative Ways to Make Your Press Release Work
by Kevin Nunley
Never before has there been so MUCH media. Internet, cable, satellite, and new low-power TV add to the already staggering number of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines.
Competition is intense. Each year there is more pressure on editors and producers to find fresh stories and interesting information to satisfy their audiences. This is good news for you.
If you have expert tips to share, an interesting new product or service to announce, or even a controversial opinion, many in the media will spread your news to their listeners, readers, and viewers. You get free publicity money can't buy when you help media folks get the fresh content they constantly need.
Editors are often swamped with press releases--bag loads arrive by mail, spill out of the fax machine, and fill up their email. Use these five strategies to get noticed and get your press release used.
1. Email is instantaneous. Constantly scan the headlines for a popular story or topic that you can relate your business to. Get your release to editors ASAP while the topic is still hot. Right after an important story breaks, media looks for related stories to keep the topic in front of their audiences.
You can email press releases to media inexpensively using a good media contact guide or database. We've had luck using the fine media guide at gebbie.com and the press release program available from media-magnet.com. Most guides divide media into a number of categories: radio, TV, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, and magazines.
2. Target general interest media. It's important to send your release to the kind of media that will be interested in it. It's safe to send just about any release to the general interest media: radio, TV, newspapers, and general business and news magazines.
Sending your release to everyone on the list will fill your mail box with angry replies from editors. Once we got a stern reply from the editor of "Soil and Conservation Monthly" after we accidentally sent him a release on 900 numbers.
3. Write your release to appeal to radio. The vast majority of major media outlets in North America are radio stations. Most cities have one or two major newspapers and a handful of TV stations, but they often have 15 to 30 radio stations.
Radio overwhelmingly uses locally produced programming that has to be produced daily every day of the year. Since most radio stations are designed to entertain, they gobble up any story that is funny, sad, thought provoking, or pertains to a fashionable topic.
Be sure to include your telephone number and offer to be available to do a live on-air interview.
4. Write a press release filled with your expert tips. It's ok for it to be a bit of a how-to article. Editors will use it if the information is helpful to people in their audience.
If you are an accountant, announce a free checklist available to small businesses. Include your free tips in the press release. A web designer can provide ideas on how to make a businesses' site sell. A daycare provider can lend some ideas on how to keep children entertained.
5. You will also want to choose some addresses from a list of magazines and newsletters that relate closely to your industry.
Often these industry publications are easiest to get into and will give your business a greater amount of publicity. Things that seem like no big deal to a daily newspaper can be big news to a magazine or newsletter in your industry.
Watch for the same email addresses to show up multiple times on directory lists. If you're not careful, you can end up sending two, four, even eight copies of your release to the same media person.
Media companies often have one person who collects press releases for several stations or publications that operate within the same company or building. A single person can be listed as the contact for two to eight media outlets.
You can avoid the multiple-copies problem by alphabetizing your email list. It's easy to spot duplicates of the same address.
Occasionally you will hear from a media representative that thinks small businesses shouldn't send them a release. In a media world that is increasingly dominated by mega-corporations, some media people start thinking of one and two-persons businesses as insignificant.
I would argue that America's rich selection of media is only possible because of the First Amendment which allows a free press and freedom of speech. It is your freedom to express ideas to media that guarantees the existence of media. It's also important not to abuse this freedom. Use your access to media wisely.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copy writing for businesses and organizations. See his full-service press release package at http://DrNunley.com/.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801)253-4536.
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