Monday, February 18th, 2019
How to Get Free Publicity
If you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers, you can benefit from reading this article.
GETTING FREE PUBLICITY – MAKING PRESS RELEASES WORK
Publicity is often referred to as "free advertising," a slight misnomer because it takes time and money to do publicity right. Still, an effective press release campaign can cost considerably less than advertising, and editorial coverage is often viewed by customers as more credible than advertising. Try these ideas for Getting Publicity: Making Press Releases Work. If the name of your company is Disney or General Mills or Microsoft, and you would like to get a little free coverage in the media, just have your Communications Director call a press conference. You'd better book a large room, because you're going to have a lot of visitors. And you may need to hire a clippings service to tally up the resultant thousands of column inches about your company that appear in print. However, if your company didn't make the Fortune 500 this year (or the 5,000 for that matter), you may find it a little more difficult to get coverage. But don't despair. Your company can receive its share of free press coverage, as long as you understand how to play the game.
How Does Press Publicity Work
Every print publication, from the New York Times to a 10,000 circulation trade magazine for brick makers, has a resident editorial staff that creates some - but not all - of their content. Where does the rest come from? For newspapers, much of it comes from news services such as AP, as well as from well-paid independent writers and syndicated columnists.
For trade magazines and lower circulation newspapers, many of the articles are written by individuals who receive little or no compensation in exchange for recognition for themselves or their employer. Most of these publications also have "News" sections, often consisting of brief pieces on new products, management changes at local companies and other tidbits of interest to their readers.
In this article, we will talk about the second of these, getting your company or your products mentioned in the News sections.
Press Kit Components
The simplest press kit consists of a press release in an envelope. This may be all you need if:
- Your company is well known to the publication, and the editors don't need more background information.
- You have sent prior releases to this editor.
- You have a simple story to tell in this release, such as an announcement for local newspaper that you have appointed a new manager.
However, if this is your first release to this editor, and/or you have a more complex story to tell, you may need a full press kit consisting of:
- Cover letter
- Press release
- Possibly a literature folder to hold everything
When designing your kit, keep in mind that every item you put in the kit must have a reason for being there. Editors who receive your kit are very busy people. Make them wade through 1/2" of documents, and they'll just set your kit aside for another time. Keep it clear and to the point, and they are more likely to act on it now.
|If you are sending out a simple one- or two-page press release, an editor can quickly scan it to learn the story you are trying to tell. However, if you are sending a comprehensive press kit, you use the cover letter to give the editor a quick idea of what is inside.Some guidelines for your cover letter are:
- Keep it very short, not more than 2 or 3 paragraphs.
- Personalize the letter by addressing it to a specific editor by name.
- Tell the editor what is in the kit, with a brief synopsis of the content of the release.
- Help the editor understand why this information might be useful to the publication's readers
- Communicate as if you are speaking from one person to another, not like an advertisement or brochure.
- Express your appreciation.
Below is an example:************************** December 14, 1995
Mr. Randy Johnson
The Building NewsDear Mr. Johnson,Enclosed is a release describing Acme Manufacturing's new line of shower door enclosures. These enclosures are designed to conform to the OSHA 5701 regulations for residential use which you described in your August issue, so I thought your Building News readers might find them interesting.In addition to the release, I have included photos of two of the enclosure models, plus a technical specification sheet and background information on our company.If you need any additional information, please call me at the number below and I will be glad to provide you with whatever you need.Thank you,Sally McFarland
Director of Marketing**************************
|The heart of your press mailing is your press release, which tells the story you wish to have printed.The following are some guidelines for writing your release:Place these two items at the top left corner: Release Date: December 14, 1995
Contact: Sally McFarland
Editors want news that is new. A release date that coincides with the date you mail out the kit says this is fresh information that readers have not already seen in other places. The contact name tells the editor whom to call for additional information or background. This should be someone who can personally answer any questions raised by an editor, not a clerical person who has to relay questions to someone else.
NEW ACME SHOWER ENCLOSURES CONFORM TO OSHA 5701 STANDARD
The headline is normally written in all capital letters, centered at the top of the release, just below the release date and contact name. As in the above example, the headline is a brief, factual statement of your news, just as you would wish it to appear as the headline of your news item in the magazine. It includes no exaggerated language or benefit statements - just the facts stated as concisely as possible.
The body of the release amplifies on the headline by telling the complete story. Write the body of the release from the top down. If the editor has space for a small news item, and he or she wants to spend a minimum of time editing, they will pluck the first one or two paragraphs from your release and print them as-is or with minimal editing. If some of your most important content is on the second page of the release, it will never appear in many write-ups. As you write the release, first make sure your headline and first paragraph tell a complete story. Then add amplifying paragraphs as needed to flesh out your story so the editor can start at the beginning and cut it off at any point.
Avoid excess puffery. "Acme Industries is the leading supplier of quality fasteners." This is the kind of bragging that shows up in too many press releases.Tell only one story in your release, the one that you mentioned in your cover letter and your headline. If you have two important stories to tell, save one of them for your next release.
|Select a simple, readable typeface for your release, such as 12 point Times Roman.
The prevailing custom is to double-space releases, giving the editor room to make notes in the space between lines. In a word processor, you can also use a line space setting of 1-1/2 lines (or 20 points). Use side margins of 1" to 1.25".
|The ideal release runs no more than 2 or 3 pages. Print a page number on each page after the first, preferably at the top.At the end of the first page and other pages except the last, print the following in the bottom, center of the page: - more -At the end of the last page of the release, print the following, centered:#
You can use your company's standard stationery for the release or specially-printed press release letterhead. Make sure that at least the first page of the release has the correct address, phone number and fax number in case the editor wants to contact you for more information. If the contact person is reached at a different number, put the correct number after the Contact's name at the top of the release.
If you are sending a new-product release or announcement of a personnel change to a publication that generally includes photography with such news, include a photo with your release. Some people try to economize by leaving out the photo and counting on the editor to ask for it. Don't! Give the editors everything the need in your release mailing.Make sure the photography fits the needs of the publication: black-and-white for a newspaper that only prints black-and-white photos, color for trade magazine that prints color photos of products. Also check the format. Does the magazine usually print photos in a horizontal or vertical format? If so, make your photo fit the way they prefer it.
|Your press release should contain the complete story you intend for the publication to print. The role of background information is to provide additional information which the editor may find useful. For example, if you have a brochure which describes your company, this can be a good piece to include with the first release. If the editor has room, he or she may refer to the brochure for additional facts about your company. If you do not have an appropriate brochure, you might write a backgrounder. This document is similar in appearance to your release but a separate item. It might include facts about when your company was founded, who the officers or key executives are (particularly if one of them is prominent), your sales volume, cities where you have offices, and anything else which gives the editor a better understanding of why readers should be interested in news from your company. For a release which discusses sales, profits, or other figures, a good accompanying backgrounder would be your annual report, quarterly financial report or other document that provides a comprehensive financial view of the company. If the release talks about a major contract you have received, the editor would be interested in some background information on your new customer. (Whenever you mention a customer's name in a release, make sure you have their approval to do so.) Keep in mind when you put together a backgrounder that most of it will never appear in print, but nothing in your kit is "off the record.
For a release which includes several items, a folder is helpful in keeping everything together and protecting the photography. If all you are sending is a release with no supporting items, the folder is probably a waste of money.If you use a folder, clip your cover letter on the outside so the editor can read it instantly without having to dig into the kit.
Building Your Press List
|Press releases addressed to "editor" get less attention than those addressed to a specific person. The best way to build your press list is to start with a recent copy of each publication on your list. Near the front of each, you will find a listing of the key editors. Within the newspaper or magazine, you will also find by-lined articles. Start by looking for the names of editors at each publication who write about topics similar to those covered in your release. If you can't tell from the by-lines or listing of editors, call the magazine and ask: "I have some information about our new residential shower doors. To whose attention should I direct that information?"
Mailing The Press Releases
Whatever date you put on the top of the release, mail your releases no later than that date. Old news is no news to the editors who receive your releases.
Following Up On The Mailings
|Many of the releases you send will result in their being printed, as long as you are sending useful information. However, since most editors get far more releases than they can print, it may take a follow-up call to raise your release to the top of the pile. When you call an editor, follow these guidelines:Make it clear your sole purpose in following up is to make sure you are satisfying the editor's information needs.Do not urge or pressure the editor to print your material. It won't work. They've been leaned on by the best. And if you make the editor mad, you'll never get ink.Respect the editor's time by keeping the call short, unless the editor wants to talk.The following is an example of how a typical follow-up call to an editor might go: Sales: Good afternoon Mr. Johnson. My name is Sally McFarland with the Acme door company. About a week ago I sent out information on our new shower doors designed to conform to the new OSHA standard, and I just wanted to make sure you got all of the information you need. Editor: Um, what was that about again? Sales: It was about Acme Corporation's new residential shower door enclosures designed to conform to OSHA standard 5731. Editor: Oh, yes. I think I remember that. Sales: The reason for my call today was just to make sure you received the information OK and to ask you if there was anything else you needed. Editor: As I recall, it seemed pretty complete. But I'll need to take another look at it. Sales: OK, good. I think you'll find everything you need there, but just in case' let me give you my name and number in case you have any follow-up questions.
What About Subsequent Releases?
The acid test for every release you send out is that it must be news of interest to the readers of the publication, and it must be a kind of information that is suitable for that publication. If you repeatedly send meaningless releases or releases of the wrong kind to an editor, that editor will begin to discard all mail from you. To continue getting ink, follow these guidelines:
Decide what kinds of releases to send to each publication. Send product releases only to publications that regularly print product news, contract announcements to publications that print them, and personnel announcements to ones that print those.
Make sure every release is really news. A totally new product is news to a new product editor. The same product in a new color or with a slightly different specification is not news.
Don't keep sending the same background information with every release. Add new backgrounders only if they are relevant to the topic of the release.
|Getting ink through press releases is very similar to selling. Think of the editors of your target publications as customers who have a continuing need for high-quality information for their readers. If the editors perceive you as someone who is helping them do their job better or more easily, they will gladly print your information. If they perceive you as someone who is trying to use them for your own purposes, you will get very little cooperation. Since spokespeople from many companies are insensitive to the needs of editors, those of us who treat them with respect will always get the best coverage.
Consider implementing these tips if you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers and want to make more money than you are currently making.
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