30 Mar How to Get Free Press
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re running (large or small), you should want, and strive for, as much free press for your business and your products or services as possible. After all, people can’t buy anything from you if they don’t know your company exists. However, you can’t just slam an email together and fire it off to the editor. Your publicity efforts should be well thought out and pre-planned for maximum results.
A press or news release is generally a one page story about your business, your product/service or an event/happening related to your business that is about to, or has recently occurred. These publicity stories are generally sent to all the various media: local newspapers, radio and TV, and trade publications.
But it is difficult to get the people to whom you’ve sent these publicity stories, to use them in their newspapers or radio shows. And this leads us back to the “right way ” of writing them and sending them in.
You should send a short cover letter addressed to the person you want your material to be considered by. This means that you send your story to the city editor of the newspapers; the news directors of the radio and TV stations; and the managing editors of the various trade publications. The most important thing is that you make contact with the person who has the final say as to what is to be published or broadcast, and at the bottom line – this person’s use of your material will somehow make him a “hero” to his or her readers, viewers or listeners.
Next you need the actual press release, which also must be properly written if you expect it to be used by the media. The editors receiving your information are fully aware of your purposes – Free Press! They are not interested in you or your credentials – If you’ve sold them on the benefits of your business to their readers, and they want background details, they’ll call you. That’s why you list your telephone number and address.
It is important to sell the editor first. Convince him/her you’ve found the better mousetrap. Show him/her your product or service – that your business – fills a need and/or will interest a large segment of his/her readers, his/her viewers or listeners.
When an editor uses your press release, always follow-up with a short thank you note. Never, but never send a press release to an editor and then call or write demanding to know why he/she didn’t use it, use it as you wrote it, or only gave you a quick mention. If your first effort is not used, then you should review the story itself; perhaps write it from a different angle; make sure you’re sending it to the proper person – and try again!
Regardless of your business, product, or service, you must build your press release around a particular angle or feature that makes it beneficial or interest to the readers, viewer or listeners of the media you want to run your press release. Without this special ingredient, you’re lost before you begin!
Try to associate your press release with current events in the news. For best results, always try to time it so your material reaches the editor in time for the Sunday paper. Press releases can also be a great way to share your company’s news with the world, especially if you’re highlighting a special connection with a charity partner.
To start getting free press, follow these steps to write a press release:
- Choose the media most likely to carry your press release, and with an audience well-related to your product/service (this association can be indirect).
- Select those that carry similar write-ups on a regular basis. You can also use a number of press release sites such as:
- Use a cover letter format with the email. It pays to call ahead to find out the name of the person who should be receiving your press release.
- Use the proper press release format, complete with a headline that will interest the person deciding to use your item.
- Be sure your press release is letter perfect – no typo’s or misspelled words, and perfectly formatted.
- Include a print-ready photo, if you have one.
- If your item is used, send a thank you note or call the editor on the phone and thank him/her for using your press release.
- Remain patient – you may not see results right away, keep trying.
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