Up to 90 per cent of stories in newspapers and on the TV news appear because
someone sent out a press release. Can you imagine what that means?
What would happen to your business if you appeared on Oprah? Or if a major
magazine did a feature story on you? Or a major newspaper? Your business would
never be the same again. No amount of paid advertising can match free publicity.
And yet, very few small businesses ever bother sending out a press release. (The
terms “press release” and “news release” are interchangeable, but I prefer “news
release” because it reminds me that the release must contain news of some kind.)
=> Super Secret #1: Send out news releases regularly, to your local media, national
media, and post them online too.
This means educating yourself as to what constitutes a news release. And that
education is VITAL. Nothing ticks off a reporter more than receiving a blatant ad
masquerading as a news release. I’m a computer journalist, and I receive news
release every day that are nothing more than blatant advertising. My editors’
attitude is: “If you want to advertise, buy an ad. If you want free publicity, give us a
story in return.”
Here’s a brilliant resource which tells you everything need to know about crafting
news releases that not only get read, but also get used:
=> Super Secret #2: A lack of response doesn’t mean NO response
A point to keep in mind —- most releases you send out seem to go nowhere.
“Seem” is the operative word.
Let’s say you’ve spend four hours sweating over a news release. You send it out. To
coin a cliché, the silence is deafening.
However, all is not as it seems. The more often your name crosses a reporter’s desk,
the more familiar you become. When I’m wearing my journalist’s hat, I appreciate
marketers who send me releases: after the third or fourth release, their names are
familiar. I might not use their story, but if they keep sending me releases, they WILL
get some response.
In my copywriting practice, I send out news releases for clients regularly, on a set schedule, because news releases which aren’t picked up do have an effect. Send
your releases out, and sooner or later, if you persist, you will get the publicity.
A big benefit of sending Web news releases is that the releases are indexed by
search engines. This sends traffic to your site painlessly.