Never miss an opportunity to get your name in print. Publicity adds authority. Publicity adds credibility.
That is, of course, if you’re controlling what gets published. Most media organizations will accept your press releases via email. In addition, they’ll include links and email addresses you provide for communicating anything that’s newsworthy to others.
Before you send out emails containing press releases, of course, you’ll need permission. Hmmm…there it is, that permission thing again. Mother may I?
Before you start contacting media representatives to get permission, what, exactly, do you want to release to the media?
There are a number of websites that offer suggestions on what and how to prepare media releases. My favorite is Bill Stoller’s PublicityInsider.com. This site has a wealth of free information that can help you prepare. A lot of what I’ve learned, and am sharing with you here are ideas I picked up from this site.
What kinds of things about you or your company are actually newsworthy? Begin with what your customers might say. What is it about you or your product that intrigues them, that helped them resolve their problem, or fulfill their desire? How and when do they get excited by what you have to offer?
Once you’ve answered those questions and have some ideas to start with, the next one arises, which is:
How do you write a media release, and more importantly, what do you do with it once you get it written?
Let’s start by writing a media release. Let’s say you have a pet supply website and you’d like to send a press release about the benefits of natural flea collars.
What would a news reporter find interesting? What sharp story angle would intrigue the public, and entice the reporter to consider your article for a press release? Can you write the article like a professional reporter?
Don’t worry if you can’t. It’s certainly possible to hire it done. There are many professional writers and publicists who will help you…for a fee, of course.
If you’re ready to tackle it on your own, though, begin with the story angle. Natural dog collars have been around for awhile, so what do you know that might make your dog collar…or any natural dog collar…memorable now?
What if you knew, for an absolute fact and supported by data, there had been a recent recall of chemical collars for dogs by a large company? That it had gone virtually unnoticed by the public? And that the recall had been the result of the death of several dogs and the loss of hair on many others? Wouldn’t that be newsworthy?
So…what sharp story angle would be your headline? What would readers really care about? What about this for a Press Release Headline:
“Dog Owners: Chemical Collar May Be Killing Your 4-Legged Friend Now
A little-known recall of chemical flea collars for dogs followed the deaths of at least 3 dogs in Toledo, Ohio. Dog owners are up in arms about what they believe is a cover-up of the devastating effects of using these chemical flea collars. George Brown, President of XYZPetStore.com set up a forum on his website for dog owners and veterinarians and says anger about the adverse health effects of the collars as well as the cover-up, is running deep. “
Further factual details could then be added, and at the bottom of the release a few short sentences about your company: “XYZ Petstore.com started their online business in 1990 to provide pet owners healthy natural pet products. They carry a wide range of healthy, organic pet foods and herbal products including natural collars for dogs and cats.”
Now that the press release is ready, you need to determine where, and to whom, it should be sent. A good start would be to go to the library and find the Bacon Media Directories. While the information might not be totally current, it will provide you with names and phone numbers to start making calls. We’re talking about the calls now, that get you permission to send an email of your press release.
This is the part where you’ll need your best manners. Once you get to the person you think is appropriate, you need to find out if they have time to take your call. If they don’t, find a good time to call them back: ” Hi, Mr. Smith. This is George Brown and I have a news piece that I think might make an interesting article. Is this a good time to talk?” If they say, “No,” then ask “What time will be more convenient?”
Once you have established a connection, it is much easier to get interesting, newsworthy articles published on a regular basis.
Writing media releases is a great thing to add to your skill set. Maybe a ‘caveman’ can’t do it, but I believe you can. An interesting topic, a little practice, and your name on the marquee. Nice.