Reader Q&A: Sending Email News Releases

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QUESTION

“Would you mind answering a quick question for me?  I received an email from XXXXXX (name removed for client confidentiality) earlier this week that they’ve developed a sample media release that members are free to modify and distribute to local media.  My question is, if I was to distribute this via email what do I put in the subject line and covering email?  Do I just say ‘Subject: For immediate release’ and in the email ‘Please find attached a press announcement for immediate release.’ Basically, what’s the code of conduct when sending these things?

Not sure if that’s turned out to be a quick question or not so I appreciate your comments.”

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ANSWER Continue reading

Quick Publicity Tip: Be Different

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If you’re about to pitch a news item or an article idea to a newspaper or magazine editor, then you really need to stand out from the crowd.

Journalists are tired of seeing the same old stories. So aim for the offbeat and more unusual angles. Just a small ‘twist’ on an otherwise ‘everyday’ idea can be enough.

For example, if you’re a fitness coach, try sending out a list of the “Seven Worst Things You Can Do While Exercising”, instead of the seven best.

(Originally published in Communiqué for Success, a bi-weekly newsletter published by MediaMinister.)

By Tracey Dooley, Copywriter Creative Consultant

Need more structured help in finding the right story angle, hook…or even publications for your next release? Powerhouse Publicity — How to Profit from the Media and Get FREE Publicity is a step-by-step system offering ‘tried-tested-and-proven’ techniques that, when followed, can give you the tools to publicise you, your company, your product or service! It’s packed with facts and tips that you can start applying straight away, too. 

(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert affordable mentoring and have fun attracting clients easily?) 

(C) 2009–13 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

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How to Stay on the Good Side of the Media

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When I used to work at the largest consumer-magazine publishers in the UK, the one thing that used to really grind away at the section editors was time-wasters. Specifically, people who would send in long, meandering, non-newsworthy or just totally unfocussed press releases. Rather than try to make sense of the tens of releases like this they would receive each day, they simply went into the ‘reject’ pile…

So if you truly wish your release to stand out and make sure it has a future, take note of the the ‘press release wish-list’:

  1. Do your homework. Get to know your editor’s audience, and make your release appeal to that audience. How? By studying at least several of the latest issues of the publication in question.
  2. Make sure you have something newsworthy to say. Although it sounds obvious, you’d be surprised to learn of just how many releases I saw that did not make this crucial grade.
  3. Place your news at the beginning of the release, preferably in the headline or at the very least in the opening sentence.
  4. Provide nuggets of information the scream “must be interviewed”. Be fresh, be original.
  5. Include a short yet compelling bio (aka boilerplate) at the foot of your release. Ideally, your USP, or point of difference, should be here, too.
  6. Finally, proofread your release for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. On the magazines I mentioned earlier, if we spotted more than one error in the first paragraph, we’d throw the release in the bin (unless it was a REALLY great story). We were fanatical about the quality of the written word (I still am!) and multiple typos and/or serious grammatical errors would give the impression that the author of the piece didn’t know or care about the message they were attempting to convey. We’d be saying: “Next!” and pass on the release. So make sure yours has been thoroughly proofed. Preferably by at least two pairs of ‘fresh’ eyes.

By Tracey Dooley, Copywriter Creative Consultant

Need more structured help in finding the right story angle, hook…or even publications for your next release? 

Powerhouse Publicity — How to Profit from the Media and Get FREE Publicity is a step-by-step system offering ‘tried-tested-and-proven’ techniques that, when followed, can give you the tools to publicise you, your company, your product or service! It’s packed with facts and tips that you can start applying straight away, too.

 

 

(C) 20010-12 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

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How to Get Free Publicity for Your Business

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What is the fastest route to increased sales and outrageous success? In a word (well, two!), media exposure. Today’s article is inspired by a question from a reader and shows you how you, too, can easily get great publicity for nada, or next to nothing. I hope it helps you. Please share and also if you have any comments to make, or tips to add, I’d love to hear your feedback in the ‘comments’ box below the article.

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QUESTION

“Do you have any tips on how to get some free public relations and media coverage for a friend’s business. Is there any way one can advertising their business within spending much cash?” 
~Deville W, of Hampshire

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ANSWER

There are a myriad of ways to generate publicity (which is a kind of ‘free’ advertising) without breaking the bank. But consistently advertising or promoting your business through a combination of paid and non-paid-for means is key to surviving in the business jungle — especially in today’s economical landscape.

Let’s start with the latter. Getting on the (right) side of the media is perhaps one of the best things your friend can do for her business. She can achieve this by, for example, becoming what is known in the industry as an ‘expert source’ — that is, the ‘go-to’ person that journalists call when they want a quote or some insight from an expert on a given topic.

I suggest she reads through the papers and online news blogs, as well as look at TV news broadcasts, to determine who covers what, and then build a relationship with a reporter who covers her area of expertise. She could introduce herself by way of a covering letter, which should mention her credentials, and then either jot down some ideas for possible discussion or send an idea for a story (in the form of a press release). She should, of course, make sure the story has a news ‘hook’ with solid facts, rather than simply be a promotional pitch. The release should end with your friend’s contact details and make it clear she is available for interview.

Every day, entrepreneurs and small businesses are brought under the local or even national spotlight, thanks to some journalist or radio or TV personality.

Maximise Your Market

The problem is, of course, when you do not pay for media coverage, you essentially have no real control over the timing or content of your publicity. And there’s no guarantee you will get that publicity in the first place.

That said, by being consistently helpful and available as an expert, and by submitting a properly formatted, professionally-written press release that offers reporters something new and different, your friend will stand a much greater chance of grabbing that media attention — and get her name/business in the news.

Ideally, your friend should aim to write at least one press release every month or so, and get it published in places where her target audience is likely to see her announcements.

As a copywriter, editor and ex-journalist, I write or rewrite press releases on a regular basis, so I know what works and doesn’t . . . meaning both my clients and my business benefit from this powerful publicity tool. By studying her market and following the advice here and the rest of this blog, your friend will soon get an idea of what the media is looking for — and how to deliver it.

It needn’t be time-consuming or difficult, either. I began distributing my own articles online a number of years ago, and qualified prospects are still coming to me through my articles today.

Stretch the String & Generate Revenue

It’s a really great way of getting and keeping your name in front of your prospect list or target audience. I will be covering this in a future blog post.

Another route for your friend to try is forming alliances with other entrepreneurs in her field. It doesn’t have to be a big network, a group of three can easily work. The point is for each person to agree to refer newspaper reporters to each other whenever they get approached about a topic on which they all could comment.

She should also consider social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer free platforms to increase her reach to prospective customers — either locally or internationally. More about that here.

Finally, online business-networking sites such as Ecademy and LinkedIn can be great promotion tools. They’re a fantastic way of searching for contacts, too. The key here is to be authentic and offer value in some way.

I urge your friend to try at least one of the above methods to rustle up brand recognition. And remind her that, at the end of the day, generating publicity and new business on a budget all boils down to three things:

  • seeking out and acting upon opportunities
  • taking advantage of effective communication
  • building relationships and, ultimately, trust.
  • Finally, to read what I think of advertising for small businesses, read this previous blog post.

    By Tracey Dooley, Copywriter Creative Consultant

    Powerhouse Publicity (how to profit from the media and get FREE publicity) shares the insider secrets of how to 
come up with newsworthy ideas for press releases, how to build your own personalised media list, and catch the attention of busy reporters who are sniffing out stores about new trends, products, brands and more: http://tinyurl.com/2ybj89

    (Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert affordable mentoring and have fun attracting clients easily?) 

    (C) 2006-12 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

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    Being a Little Different Can Make All the, Well, Difference!

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    If you’re about to pitch a news item or a article idea to a newspaper or magazine editor, then you really need to stand out from the crowd. Journalists are tired of seeing the same old stories. So aim for the offbeat and more unusual angles. Just a small ‘twist’ on an otherwise ‘everyday’ idea can be enough. For example, if you’re a fitness coach, try sending out a list of the “Seven Worst Things You Can Do While Exercising”, instead of the seven best.

    (Originally published in Communiqué for Success, a bi-weekly newsletter published by MediaMinisterSubscribe here for your free copy and business-building gifts.)

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    Prices Frozen

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    In keeping with the current global economic meltdown, I have decided NOT to raise my copywriting, marketing, PR and editing/proofreading fees.

    Instead, MediaMinister.co.uk will deliver the same valued-added service at 2008 prices to help clients continue to generate within budget the desired response from professionally crafted communications.   

    So whether it’s business writing, staff communications, tenders and proposals, marketing material or publicity you’re after, you can now make your budget go further without diluting your results.

    For the time being, all prices for my revenue-boosting tools and laser-focused “do-it-yourself” kits will be frozen, too. 

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    Reach a Wider Audience With Less Effort (Twitter Revisited)

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    [Originally published in Communiqué for Success!)

    When I first heard of Twitter — the micro-blogging platform that currently seems to be taking the online world by storm — I thought it was a bit, well, silly. Let’s face it; I didn’t have the time to ‘follow’ people who revel in the idea of broadcasting the fact that they’d just poked a pencil in their eye, or what they’d just had to eat. And I certainly didn’t have the interest in such drivel.

    Now, of course, I know better. I have spent the past few months merrily tweeting away with fellow Twitters and I’m having a ball. Suddenly, I ‘get it’.

    And it’s not all about the latest penchant for breakfast. Twitter provides a wonderful opportunity for sole traders, entrepreneurs and businesses of all kinds to promote their cause. For F.R.E.E.

    It’s a deceptively simple idea and tool, allowing for some weird and wonderful applications, but for the sake of this article, let’s look at the business side of things…

    So What Exactly is This Twitter Lark? 

    Essentially, Twitter is a Web 2.0 communication tool for friends, family and co-workers. You update your contacts or ‘followers’ by answering one seemingly simple question: “What are you doing?”

    You publish your status (or any tidbit of information) via the web or your mobile phone. But the best part, perhaps, is that you have to be concise: each message or ‘tweet’ can only be up to 140 characters in length. Because tweets are so short, twittering takes far less time than that which you would have to invest in many other social networking services.

    Twitter is extremely viral: Your tweets can be exposed to all the followers of your follower, and in turn their followers, and so on. All these people can choose to follow you.

    While it can be fun to chat with friends, Twitter really comes into its own as a business promotional tool. Scores of business people are becoming addicted to it on a daily basis. And plenty more companies are about to dip in their toe (beak?!)…

    twitter_follow-me_orange_feet.png 

    THE Must-Use Marketing Tool? 

    A lot of people are using Twitter to expand their marketing reach. Think about it: The very foundation of making sales for your business comes down to one thing. Well, two, actually: relationships and trust. People buy from people they know, like and trust. And the beauty of Twitter is that it allows you to build relationships and, ultimately, trust. By posting your thoughts, news and other tidbits on a regular basis, your followers will start feel as if they know you better, can trust you more and generally feel much more comfortable about potentially working with you.

    What’s more, if you have thousands of connections and you decide to post a promotional link, then your offer will be exposed to thousands of people — and possibly many more. 

    A Driving Source of Traffic 

    I’ve been running some interesting tests and I’m already seeing some great traffic results — FAR better than the likes that Facebook or any other Web 2.0 tool sends my way.

    For instance, two days ago Twitter sent me a whopping 32% of my website traffic. That’s almost one third of my entire days’ traffic. I admit that was a bumper day, with me tweeting away in addict mode. On an average day, though, I can get as much as 20% of my traffic from Twitter.

    Little wonder then that businesses and nonprofits large and small continue to experiment with dozens upon dozens of ways to gain from Twitter.

    Here are just a few more ways to make the most of Twitter for your business:

  •  An online inter-office memo system. Within a company setting, employees could have a Twitter account with the option to have their messages protected. This means only approved followers will be able to send and receive messages.
  •  Keep-in-touch system. Twitter can be used as a way for people who are working together on a project to stay in touch with one another, regardless of where they are.
  •  Online reputation management… Tracking what people are saying about you, your product or your company, can easily monitor problems with customer service. This in turn gives you the opportunity to respond to any problem areas within minutes, if need be.
  •  Equally, Twitter can be used to respond to media coverage — whether good or bad.
  •  News alert! If you or your company needs to quickly announce some breaking news, then what better way to sent it out as a tweet?
  •  Equally, you can send out updates on your blog or website. 
  •  Google Up. Because the search engines also index your tweets, you should soon notice that they are showing up in search results. Very useful if you focus on using your prime keywords and phrases.
  •  Competition time. Want to promote your new book, movie or service? Simply hold a contest to give away a fr.eebie among your followers. This is also a great way to conduct some f.ree market research, as you can seek feedback on whatever it is you are promoting.
  • Give and Take 

    So now that you have some idea of what Twitter can do for you, how about spending the next few minutes setting up an account? You can get started right now – or follow me, if you already use it — by going to:

    http://twitter.com/TraceyDooley

    But … and it’s a big but … in order to truly leverage Twitter – whether for business or personal use – you mustn’t abuse it. As with any social media site it should be a give-and-take relationship. That means refraining from posting little more but blatant ads for personal gain.

    You should instead aim to keep the interest of your followers. One way of doing this is to post links to useful or interesting online resources and news. And if someone you are following posts something helpful, then forward that on (called ‘re-tweeting’) to show that you appreciate the tweet and that you are re-directing the quality content to others.

    Further Reading

    >> Twitter: Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay?

    >> 21 Ways to Market Your Business on Twitter

    >> Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time

    >> Twitter Means Business: How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company

    — Please share your experiences of Twitter, and it would be great if you have any tips for newbies. The comment box is eagerly awaiting your thoughts…  ;-)  

    twitter_follow-me_orange_feet.png 

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