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DIY press release questions

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Diane Kennedy

Bronze Contributor
Aug 31, 2007
795
209
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I am just looking to target 2 papers in my local market. Anyone done this before, any tips?
Check out this website: : http://services.prnewswire.com/features/features_nov07.html

I receive their newsletters monthly and it's full of tips on how to write press releases. Another insider secret is that national magazines and newspapers go with specific topics each week. They openly solicit a month in advance on these topics. This newsletter tells you what they are. Typically, you post to prnewswire and then journalists will email you to arrange for interviews or newspapers will just pick up your press releases.

I'm a huge fan of PR versus advertising. You come in as an expert which has higher credibility. Are you interested in doing radio/tv interviews as well? There is a magazine that you can advertise in (can't remember it right off the top of my head) and it's read by the industry. You'd be surprised how much radio you can pick up off of those ads. Talk radio is always looking for guests.
 

thecoach

Contributor
Aug 29, 2007
125
24
23
Regina, SK, Canada
Here's a couple quick tips that I was told when I used to manage bands...

Make it interesting. Don't list off a bunch of boring details or insider jargon...make them want to read it. I've written some press releases that are nothing more than a fabricated story, then tying it in at the end to what ever I'm talking about (Check out the band bio that I used in most press releases for the band www.myspace.com/greendoorclub ...some of the story is truth, some is slightly fabricated based on a local urban myth, but it kept people reading). The biggest goal is to make sure they keep reading. If they aren't interested in doing an article, they might show it someone else just on the merit of creativity, and they might pick up the story.

Call and find out exactly who to send it too. If you don't know who, don't address it to someone. If you are announcing a new sports franchise your bringing to your town, would it go in community events? Sports? Business? If the wrong person gets it and is busy it might get the "that's not my job/department" attitude and end up in the trash bin. Also, if it's a time sensitive article (IE promoting something on a specific date), make sure you find out when their deadline is to run that story. If his deadline is Dec. 1 and he receives the press release on Nov. 30, you aren't getting a story. Give them a little notice. If it's not time sensitive, find the good times of year to send it. If you get the paper, pay attention to what times of year the newspapers are thin (between Christmas and New Years for example). When the paper is thin, that means the writers don't have much to write about...give them something to fill those empty pages. Chances are if there isn't much to write about, they aren't getting many press releases, so there's a better chance they'll see yours.

Send it between 10:30 and 11am. If you send it before 10:30am, they may be still sleepy or catching up on the previous days work. If you send it between 11 and noon, they will push it off until after lunch. If you send it after lunch they will be in sleepy mode from their big lunch.

Send it so it arrives to them, Tues, Weds, or Thurs. Everyone hates Mondays..If you send it on a Monday they'll be grouchy and less likely to want to add to their workload. If you send it Friday, they will be in weekend mode and it will be pushed off until Monday...See notes about Mondays.

Not sure what you are sending it about, but send something free with it (if you can). People love free stuff and it gets their attention. We would simply send a couple of band stickers and a t-shirt or a CD. Spending $10 on giving somehting for free can lead to invaluable return in good promotion.

If you are sending them a press release to try to get them to write about you to promote your products, don't bother. They likely pass you to the advertising department. Position it like you want to talk to them about an "Ask the experts" type of column, where you talk about the work you do in general and provide valuable advice to the readers (creates the image of you being an expert in your field...everyone want to deal with an expert...that's why we're all here, right?). Ive done it with my current work and it's worked wonders ("I saw you get interviewed on TV, you must really know what your talking about") It's been mentioned here before....it's better and cheaper to get PR attention, than it is to get advertising.

Finally, the most important tip...FOLLOW UP. You can't expect the person to be so blown away by your press release that they will jump out of their chair and beg you for more info. Most of these people get tons of releases or story ideas a week, so some get lost in the shuffle. Follow up a day or 2 after they got it to see if they have any questions about it and when you should get together to further discuss the event in more detail.

I'm by no means an expert, but those are some of the things that I've found that work.
 
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