Creating a Public
There are two general
ways to get favorable exposure in the media:
- Advertise - buy
space to deliver the message you want.
- Public relations
- take advantage of the press's need for content by becoming the story.
you to control what is printed, but it can be expensive and readers may
perceive advertisements with skepticism. Using a public relations approach
reduces your control over what is printed, but is usually free and can
enable your message to be seen as news or helpful information by the reader.
1. The press (newspapers, magazines and trade publications) are always
looking for newsworthy information they believe their readers would find
interesting, informative or useful.
2. The reporters and writers of these publications must create content
to fill their "space" in a timely manner.
3. The key is making your message the content they can and will use.
4. The primary means of contacting those writers is a press release.
Using Press Releases
A press release is simply a document that contains summary information
about a topic or event that you want to disseminate. It is best to distribute
the press release to actual people like reporters, writers and journalists.
If you don't know a specific person at a publication, you can send it
to an editor of the publication or try to direct it to an appropriate
Journalists get dozens
or hundreds of press releases all the time. To make yours stand out, here
are some suggestions.
- Know whom you are
trying to reach. You really have two audiences - the journalist and
the readers of the publication. Journalists spend all their time creating
articles that the readers of their publication will find interesting.
The nature of their work is that they are busy and operate under deadlines.
Therefore, you must create and target your press release to appeal to
both the journalist and the ultimate reader.
- Have a reason for
the release. There must be something of value or newsworthy in your
release. It may be the introduction of a new product, launching a new
website, the landing of a new major customer or the hiring or promotion
of an employee. You can also "create" a "news item"
that will be attractive for a story, such as the results of a survey
on some topic related to your customers and your business.
- Write an effective
release. Press releases usually conform to a standard format. They should
include enough information to enable the journalist to write a short
story and complete contact information so the journalist can contact
you for more information for a longer story. Try to include a quote
and information on your company. There is a sample at the end of this
- Distribute the
release effectively. After creating the release, you must get it to
the right people. If your ultimate audience is the general public, send
it to local newspapers and magazines. If your audience is a certain
type of business, send the release to all of the trade publications
that your customers read.
- If at all possible,
direct the release to the specific person who is most likely to be writing
about your topic. Look at old copies of trade publications for reporters'
names. If the release is about a new product or employee promotion,
find the editor of the section of the publication that deals with those
items. If you can't find a specific writer's name, send the release
to the publication's editor. As a last resort, send the release to "The
XYZ Publication, Attention - Editor." The more personal you make
it, the more likely it will get attention.
- More and more press
releases are being sent via E-mail. It is faster, cheaper and usually
easier. If you choose email, incorporate the release into the body of
the email instead of sending an attachment. You can also send the releases
by regular mail and by fax.
- Be available for
follow up. Understand that journalists operate under the constant pressure
of meeting printing deadlines. If a journalist calls, try to take the
call or return it immediately. You should also ask what type of time
constraints the person has.
- Nurture a relationship
with the writer. Journalists are always looking for sources of good
article ideas. Try to position yourself as an insightful and informed
expert on your market. You never know when you may get a call and have
the opportunity to get message told again.
SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
INTRODUCTION OF A NEW PRODUCT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Smith
ABC Manufacturing, Inc.
Cell phone: 604-837-9705
Dover, Ohio (August
1, 2007) - - ABC Manufacturing, Inc., the maker of a broad range of
decorative birdhouses, announced the launching of "The New American"
line of birdhouses for the holiday season. The new line has a patriotic
theme with red, white and blue coloring with some featuring American flags
and bald eagles.
wave of patriotism inspired our designers to craft a series of birdhouses
for outdoor and decorative indoor use," said John Aldergate, President
of ABC Manufacturing. "You can show support for our country and help
our feathered friends at the same time," said Mr. Aldergate.
The New American line
of birdhouses will be featured prominently on the ABC website, www.abcmfg.com
as well as in the fall catalog. Prices range from $20 to over $75. As
the company does with all its products, they will donate 5% of all revenue
from the line to the Greater Dover Birdwatchers Society.
Inc. has been providing decorative and functional birdhouses since 1954.
The company employees 36 people at two manufacturing sites in the Dover
area. The company's website at www.abcmfg.com contains additional information.