Ways To Make Your
Press Release Work
to get thousands in free media publicity.
by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
Never before has there been
so MUCH media. Internet, cable, satellite, and new low-power TV add to
the already staggering number of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines.
Competition is intense. Each
year there is more pressure on editors and producers to find fresh stories
and interesting information to satisfy their audiences. This is good news
If you have expert tips to share,
an interesting new product or service to announce, or even a controversial
opinion, many in the media will spread your news to their listeners, readers,
and viewers. You get free publicity money can't buy when you help media
folks get the fresh content they constantly need.
Editors are often swamped with
press releases--bag loads arrive by mail, spill out of the fax machine,
and fill up their email. Use these five strategies to get noticed and
get your press release used.
1. Email is
scan the headlines for a popular story or topic that you can relate your
business to. Get your release to editors ASAP while the topic is still
hot. Right after an important story breaks, media looks for related stories
to keep the topic in front of their audiences.
You can email press releases
to media inexpensively using a good media contact guide or database. We've
had luck using the fine media guide at gebbie.com and the press release
program available from media-magnet.com. Most guides divide media into
a number of categories: radio, TV, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers,
2. Target general
interest media. It's
important to send your release to the kind of media that will be interested
in it. It's safe to send just about any release to the general interest
media: radio, TV, newspapers, and general business and news magazines.
Sending your release to everyone
on the list will fill your mail box with angry replies from editors. Once
we got a stern reply from the editor of "Soil and Conservation Monthly"
after we accidentally sent him a release on 900 numbers.
3. Write your
release to appeal to radio. The
vast majority of major media outlets in North America are radio stations.
Most cities have one or two major newspapers and a handful of TV stations,
but they often have 15 to 30 radio stations.
Radio overwhelmingly uses locally
produced programming that has to be produced daily every day of the year.
Since most radio stations are designed to entertain, they gobble up any
story that is funny, sad, thought provoking, or pertains to a fashionable
Be sure to include your telephone
number and offer to be available to do a live on-air interview.
4. Write a press
release filled with your expert tips.
It's ok for it to be a bit of a how-to article. Editors will use it if
the information is helpful to people in their audience.
If you are an accountant, announce
a free checklist available to small businesses. Include your free tips
in the press release. A web designer can provide ideas on how to make
a businesses' site sell. A daycare provider can lend some ideas on how
to keep children entertained.
5. You will
also want to choose some addresses from a list of magazines and newsletters
that relate closely to your industry.
Often these industry publications
are easiest to get into and will give your business a greater amount of
publicity. Things that seem like no big deal to a daily newspaper can
be big news to a magazine or newsletter in your industry.
Watch for the same email addresses
to show up multiple times on directory lists. If you're not careful, you
can end up sending two, four, even eight copies of your release to the
same media person.
Media companies often have one
person who collects press releases for several stations or publications
that operate within the same company or building. A single person can
be listed as the contact for two to eight media outlets.
You can avoid the multiple-copies
problem by alphabetizing your email list. It's easy to spot duplicates
of the same address.
Occasionally you will hear from
a media representative that thinks small businesses shouldn't send them
a release. In a media world that is increasingly dominated by mega-corporations,
some media people start thinking of one and two-persons businesses as
I would argue that America's
rich selection of media is only possible because of the First Amendment
which allows a free press and freedom of speech. It is your freedom to
express ideas to media that guarantees the existence of media. It's also
important not to abuse this freedom. Use your access to media wisely.
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