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What is the best type of advertising? Well if you are a small to medium sized business with a tight marketing budget, the free type of course! Did you know that many news and feature stories published in newspapers and magazines, broadcast on radio and prime time television, popular blog posts, and even social media blasts... often originated from Press Releases?
So what is a Press Release? A Press Release is sent to news reporters and journalists in the hope that they will use this information and give your business free publicity.
It may be introducing a revolutionary new product, an innovative service or unique idea. It may announce an upcoming event, an opening night, a new staff appointment, or a move to new premises. The ways you can get the message out about your business and services provided is endless!
Many business uses Public Relations firms to do this for them – all at a cost and absolutely no guarantee of exposure. And there certainly is a knack to it, however once you understand the process, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t orchestrate your business Press Release yourself. All it takes is time, research and preparation.
DO YOU HAVE A PRESS KIT?
A Press Kit is a set of promotional materials tailored to communicate your message in detail to Reporters and Media Directors. It embodies your company image and provides the media with information on your company, your services and products. It’s sole purpose is to entice the Media Director to want to write about your special promotion.
A standard Press Kit used to held together in a folder, (usually put together by a graphic designer to really make a lasting impression), but now with the advent of electronic media the system has changed somewhat. It is always good to still possess a physical kit, however you may also wish to create a digital version of the same, and then find out what the preferred method of contact is from the publication that you are sending to.
You have to consider that some journalists are bombarded with dozens to hundreds of Press Releases daily, including emails which when uninvited are still classified as spam by law, so you do not want to get yourself on a list. Therefore you only want to email someone with a press release with whom you have an existing relationship. Therefore we recommend that you do your research and actually call the Editor or Media Director prior to sending your press release, and ask them how would they prefer to receive it - either by email, fax, or traditional snail mail. You will definitely stand out because nobody rings anymore!
Therefore, you should:
- Identify editors & reporters who would be most interested in what you have to say.
- Choose your media list carefully. If sending via e-mail, be sure the editors & reporters accept press releases via email. Queries should be over the phone or in writing (snail-mail).
- Only send your release to one person per news outlet.
- Keep it short and to the point! Brevity is encouraged and rewarded. It shows you respect the time of busy editors & reporters. If they require more information, they will ask.
- And when they do make contact, be available. The deadlines are very tight and they will not have time to wait. They will just move on to the next story or contact.
There is another very good method of getting in front of journalists, and we recommend you sign up to the email alerts from http://www.sourcebottle.com/. Their catch cry is that they connect expert sources (YOU!) with journalists and bloggers - for FREE! It is really worth signing up to, we have seen some fantastic national exposure for clients using this free resource.
If you have decided that you would really like to stand out and send your press releases via snail mail, then here is how you would put together a press release kit:
YOUR PRESS RELEASE KIT SHOULD CONTAIN:
1. Business Card – insert this into your presentation folder in its own slot if possible. Make it as easy as possible for the Journalist to contact you.
2. Press Release – Your big announcement! The information should be laid out clearly and plainly. Stick to the facts with the most critical information placed at the beginning. Don’t assume that a journalist will have the time to read all of your Press Release, so be dynamic and get your message across quickly.
Keep it to one page if possible, absolutely no more than two pages. Print on one side of the sheet only, preferably your letterhead. Indicate when you would like the information released eg. for immediate release or a specified date. Provide a suggested headline and keep the paragraphs short, clear, objective and to the point. Remember the old saying, when in doubt, KISS – keep it simple stupid!
3. Article Reprints – If you have had other stories published about your company or services, include this information. It backs up the suggestion that your stories are newsworthy and appealing to the public if you have already been published.
4. Photographs or Illustrations – Relevant to your Press Release, black and white for newspapers, colour for everything else. Make sure they are top quality and flattering to your product or person featured. Just because you have a digital camera doesn’t make you a great product photographer! It’s a highly skilled art form and best left to the professionals.
5. Company Profile – A concise summary of your business history, mission statement and future goals. Summarise your products and services, and if you are introducing a new product or service, include a separate data sheet highlighting its features and benefits.
6. Testimonials and/or Case Studies – A good opportunity to showcase the caliber of client you may have done work for which only further reinforces your standing in your industry. Positive customer testimonials, featured client case studies and lots of satisfied customer references all illustrate your company’s significance and newsworthiness.
7. Staff Biographies – Profiles of yourself and key employees, (all with good photos), providing a work history and knowledge of the people who drive the business.
8. Statistical Data – If appropriate, pie charts, bar and line graphs all make great visuals when used as a comparison of your business sales or performance success compared with your closest competitors.
9. Business Literature – This includes any significant brochures, newsletters, catalogues, mail outs used by your business promoting your services.
SENDING A PRESS KIT:
A pitch letter is always contained to one page and accompanies your Press Release and Press Kit. It quickly and clearly introduces your Press Release and should entice the Media Director to read your Press Kit. Highlight a few notable facts, briefly suggest an angle for the story and then wrap it up!
Mail the Press Kit and pitch letter directly to the Media Director and follow up within a couple of days. Following up is essential. Do your research and know who you are mailing to, and then check by phone to see if it was received. It’s always handy if the envelope and/or folder is a bright colour, because that detail could help to describe your Press Kit to the Media Director if they have dozens sitting on their desk!
Once you have established contact with this person, consistently maintain contact with them with additional Press Releases on a regular basis, so you are always fresh in their mind. You will most likely then also progress up the food chain to being able to email your press releases without all the supporting material!
Below are some helpful points to remember when you are dealing with the Media:
- Be organised with your information. Have it in front of you before you make your follow up call and do not waste their time, they are very busy people!
- Don’t call in the afternoon if you are aware that this is when they have to make their deadlines
- Be prepared that they receive many Press Releases and Kits daily.
- Be prepared to res end your information as it may never have made it to the right person’s desk, and never send originals!
- Always be polite but persistent. A Media Director can greatly help promote your business for FREE, so do nothing that will paint you or your business in a bad light.
Press Release Kits are an invaluable resource for your company in promoting your services and products.
If you would like Divine Creative Design to assist you with your Press Release Kit or your corporate identity, please contact us. Money spent initially in creating a cohesive and attractive Press Kit that represents your company image, will be viewed more favourably than an in-house document thrown together. Remember, it's best to always stay a step ahead of the competition!
We actually have a very current and up to date list of all Media outlets and publications throughout Australia, from publications to television to radio. If you would like to speak with us about this and see how we can assist you, please contact us!!
Director, Divine Creative Design
We welcome you to use this article on your own website, however we ask that you credit us clearly with an obvious link back to our website.
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