Newspaper Machines

Something Old, Something New: The Press Release

Businesses have been using the press release as a marketing tactic for forever. So why haven’t you used it for your blog or business yet? Maybe because the press release lives in the old offline world. It’s important to remember that there are many people who are still plugged into this world, so why not go after this area? Most blogs and many small businesses overlook this marketing element. This article will show you how to gain maximum exposure for your blog or business through a complete press release strategy.

For guides on writing your press release here are 10 Free Tips to writing a press release, Wikipedia’s news release basics, and here is a barebones guide to writing a press release.

How to Distribute Your Press Release for Maximum Exposure

1) Target Audience. As with any marketing strategy consider who your target market is. Then, as you look at your choices of newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, ask yourself : “Does this media outlet speak with the people I am trying to reach?” If yes, then you should include them on your list.


2) Assemble a list of all Local Media in your area. Include on your media mailing list all radio, television, and print (including Internet) contacts. Make a spreadsheet with these columns: Media Contact Info, Date Mailed, FLWP Date, Date Published, Request
Reprints, Thank You Sent, Add Credits To Published Materials.

Media Contact Sheet

If you can obtain the names of reporters or journalists, even better. Here’s how:

Offline:

  • Let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages. It’s probably best to use this avenue as well a high tech search so that you don’t miss the free and/or “specialty” newspapers in your city or county.
  • Visit the places that your clients, prospects, or blog readers frequent, such as restaurants & high-end stores. Once there, look for community publications that you won’t find elsewhere.

Online: Use the web to search. These links will help you find what you need:

  • American Journalism Review – This is American Journalism Review’s comprehensive listing of worldwide news media. This includes Newspapers, Magazines, Television Networks, Television Affiliates, Radio, News/Wire Services and Media Companies. You can select the types of media you want to reach, go to their sites, and decide whether to send them your press release.
  • NewsLink – This is a comprehensive listing of worldwide news media. This includes Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and TV.
  • Bizjournals – The 35 weekly business newspapers published by American City Business Journals boasts a readership of 1.5 million, predominately owners and operators of entrepreneurial businesses.

3) Assemble a list of Specialty publications. Ask your best clients or readers what organizations they belong to and what they read. You may want to consider submitting your press release to publications in these areas:

4) Obtain Contact Information. Call the publication or search their website to find out who to send a press release to, and what their deadlines are. You can send the release to a particular person, or you can simply send it to the Managing Editor.

5) Mail/Fax/Email your Press Release. Keep track of the contact information such as date sent and the date you plan to follow up. (see tracking sheet image above) Keep track of your contacts so you can check up on how they are using material you send them, and so you can go directly to known people in the future.

6) Best Practice: Events Tie-In. You can increase the odds of having your press release picked up if you submit it along with information about a seminar or event you will be hosting. (Even if you are promoting a blog, you could still hold a seminar where you speak about the topics you cover in your blog! Host it at a local library for free. Maybe your event is a Webinar!) In this case submit your press release at least 3 weeks in advance of your scheduled event.

7) Radio & Television: Interviews: Don’t forget the opportunities with cable TV and radio. Many stations have ample “dead air” they need to fill. Radio or television stations may pick up your press release and perhaps be interested in having you appear on one of their programs. Requests for interviews often arrive on very short notice, so be prepared. In some cases you can ask the show’s producer ahead of time for a list of questions you will be asked. Plan how you will reply to the questions. Also plan how you will respond to the interviewer if they ask questions you do not wish to answer.

8 ) Make follow up calls. You will have varying results with the media depending on your location. If you are in a metropolitan area, you may receive no response from the large newspapers but keep in touch with them because you never know when the time is right. Sometimes you may be disappointed that none of your local media have published your release or shown an interest in interviewing you. The media’s response is very unpredictable. Timing is everything. Stay on their radar with a polite follow up call on the date you schedule on your tracking sheet.

9) Leveraging your media exposure: Request permission for reprints. Since a published press release or an interview is a transitory event, request permission from the publication to make reprints, post on your website, or for podcasts. Reprints can be mailed or given to prospects and clients alike. They can be used as handouts at seminars. Or they can be used to fill a “Press” binder in your lobby. And for online businesses like blogs, you can host an image of the press release online. With a podcast of your interview, you can email your client base to ensure everyone hears your message.

10) Update all your written material. Add your publication or interview to your credits on your website, resume, bio, corporate brochure or any other printed material describing your accomplishments.

11) More Follow-Up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Keep in touch with key media contacts, even if you get no response to your initial attempts. Put them on a mailing list for newsletters, informative updates and other information that will be useful to them in evaluating story ideas.

12) Gratitude. Upon publication or following an interview, take a moment to send a thank-you to the editor or the radio/TV producer. Send a brief note of thanks, and share any positive feedback you’ve gotten from the exposure. Your success will grow in proportion to your ability to “get the word out.”

13) Ensure Success. Schedule these steps into your calendar. Break it down into small pieces you can accomplish each day. Keep faithful to your schedule. A good idea is to think of each step as an important appointment you can’t cancel.

Please share your thoughts and comments regarding using press releases for building your business and/or your blog readership.

K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are 5 Big Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Investing, Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Resource List, 5 Keys to Happiness, and Cool GTD Applications – The Ultimate Resource List.

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