Getting publicity for your business, product or services doesn’t have to be hard — and it can actually be fun. I know that many editors will tell you that most news releases end up in the round file, but if you follow a few simple suggestions, you can send an editor an effective news release that will get read and get you the results you want — as well as giving you the enjoyment of seeing your story in the press.
Start by thinking about the following:
• Who are my customers?
• What do they read, watch or listen to when they get information that motivates them to buy a product or service I offer?
• What types of media allow me to “talk” to my customers so they’ll respond?
• What types of articles are typically featured in the media I’ve identified? What interests the reporter I’m targeting?
• What ways does your product or services fit within the scope of the publication you’re targeting?
Whether you want your announcement “picked up” by New Hampshire Business Review or a newspaper in another state, the process of writing a press release is the same. The content, though, is modified to reflect the interests of each publication and their readers. If you’re targeting New Hampshire Business Review or the Miami Herald ask yourself: “What does a business reader in New Hampshire or Miami care about?” If you give editors exactly what they want, they’ll in turn give you the publicity you want.
Here’s how to proceed:
Select your top media or publications. If you’re a New Hampshire business and you want to see your news covered by the Boston Business Journal, you need to have a Boston or Massachusetts angle. Are you opening an office in Massachusetts? Have you recently promoted or hired an executive who lives in Massachusetts? Is your product being used by another company located in the Boston area?
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely the publication will be interested in your news. If your news is pertinent to a publication in New Hampshire and Massachusetts only, you don’t want to send your announcement to someone in Florida!
Imitate the structure and content of your model. Study the publication and find an article similar to what you want to talk about. Develop a general outline of the structure and purpose of each sentence. Start with your headline. What’s the news? Who will care? Then go on to the first sentence, then the second and so on. By looking at the publication you’re targeting, you can match your sentences in length, tone and function to the ones you see in your target publication.
Innovate with your information. As you experiment with this process, something interesting will happen. You will come really close to matching the editorial interest, readership interest and style of your targeted publication because you’re thinking like the reporter.
Don’t forget to put “For Immediate Release” and your contact name, phone number and Web site at the top of the release. At the bottom of your release, you can add a note to reporters that a color photograph of your product is available or person noted in your release is available for interviews.
PR-savvy companies use a distribution vehicle like Business Wire (businesswire.com) to distribute their news to target media. Costs and media reach vary. If you only want to target one or two publications, you may not need a distribution service. Instead, check out the publication’s Web site and then send your release via e-mail to the editor.
Post the announcement to your site, transmit the release and you’re done.
Track your results. Subscribe to a service like Custom Scoop (customscoop.com), which will track mentions about your company and send you detailed information that you can turn into business intelligence.
Writing press releases and seeing the outcome of your work is the fun part and what you’ve been working to achieve. By writing announcements at least once a quarter, your market will keep up with the news on your company and you’ll build momentum for your business.
It’s not difficult once you get the hang of it; it just takes planning and consistent execution.
Nancy Pieretti is an independent public relations practitioner. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 268-8007.