Why spend a fortune on Advertising that doesn’t work when you can get Free Advertising using great PR!
I love PR because it’s FREE and it lets you reach thousands or millions of people. It can also make you famous and people will start recognizing you in the supermarket!
I frequently get myself and companies I work with onto national TV, local TV, national and local radio, national newspapers, local newspapers, consumer magazines and the trade press.
Recently I generated £1.5 million pounds of coverage in media ranging from BBC TV to The Daily Telegraph for one company from just one press release.
Here I want to share with you the seven fundamentals for getting you and your business famous using the power of PR.
Most Press Releases are a disaster
First, the bad news. 99% of Press Releases get thrown in the bin. Yes 99% – and most of them are written by PR Agencies who are charging their clients a fortune. This is a waste of money. It’s also a waste of perfectly good trees.
The good news – The 1% of Press Releases that lead to a story or interview have certain qualities in common. The following are a few of them.
Step into the Shoes of the Journalist/Producer reading your Press Release
The best Press Releases step into the shoes of the journalist or producer reading it and meet their needs. If there’s one secret to great PR it’s meeting the needs of the journalists. Everyone thinks PR is hard work. What they fail to understand is that every day, these journalists are pulling their hair out trying to fill their newspaper, magazine, radio or TV shows with useful, entertaining information. If you can show them how to do that, you’re virtually guaranteed some coverage.
How do you meet their needs? Think about is like this. All of these journalists are under pressure from their editors to find stories that are of interest to the readers/listeners/viewers. So you meet the needs of the journalist by meeting the needs of their audience. If you’re targeting a woman’s magazine you need to think of a story that’s of interest to their readers. If you’re targeting a late afternoon radio show you need to think of a story that’s of interest to people driving home from work, listening to the radio.
If you were reading the publication or listening to the radio show, what would jump out and appeal to you? Answer that question and you’ve got the subject for your press release.
The Press couldn’t care less about You and your Business – but they LOVE a Good Story.
The harsh truth is, these journalists are not particularly interested in your company, your history or your product or service. Which is why Press Releases with headlines such as:
‘Local Company celebrates 30 years in Business’
‘FJ Widget and Son appoints New Chairman’
go straight in the bin. They’re boring. So just get over the fact that the press don’t care about your business and come up with a story (journalists call it an ‘angle’) that is of interest.
For example, if the new Chairman of FJ Widget and Son celebrated his appointment by painting the building pink, or giving his top performing sales person some free plastic surgery or whatever – that would gain instant coverage. As with most marketing, it’s all a matter of being creative and thinking outside the box.
(Let me know how you get on if you steal the plastic surgery idea!).
The Headline is the most important part of your Press Release
The first thing the journalist sees is the headline and if that doesn’t grab their attention, your Press Release is heading for the dustbin.
Your headline needs to be bold and interesting – and above all it needs to stand out from all the other press releases. Your best option is to write it in the style of the headlines of the publication you’re targeting. For example, if you were selling a new supplement to help indigestion, which of these Press Releases do you think would get the best response:
New Supplement helps Ease Indigestion
Why Some Foods Explode in Your Stomach!
The reason that newspapers use bold, attention-grabbing headlines is that they work. You can deploy the same strategy to grab the attention of the journalists you are trying to reach.
Format your Press Release Correctly
Here are my Golden Rules for formatting Press Releases.
- Make sure the headline is big and bold
- Aim to fit the Press Release on one page.
- Use short paragraphs
- Use language that will appeal to the type of media that you are targeting. You may want to write different press releases for different media, eg use different wording for targeting a tabloid than you would for a technical business publication
- Insert the words ‘For Immediate Release’ in bold in the top left hand corner
- Include a call to action at the end of the release, eg ‘Our CEO John Smith is available for interview. He has appeared frequently on local/national media and is an excellent speaker. If you would like to arrange an interview or require any further information, please call on etc.
- Follow up your Press Release with a Telephone Call
Public Relations is just like all other forms of marketing – you have to be persistent.
Journalists tend to be very busy people (when they’re not in the pub) so the fact that they’ve missed your Press Release or not contacted you, doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to offer.
If you don’t hear from the media outlet in two or three days, give them a call. Say you’re just checking that they got the press release about XYZ. Of course, at this point it doesn’t matter whether they’ve seen the release or not. Use the conversation to sell your story. Concentrate on the benefits and what’s in it for the journalist/producer’s audience.
Become a World Class Expert – Overnight!
Most people think that the only way to get good PR is to come up with a story. But there is another way. This involves positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.
Whatever your profession, there’s an area that you’re an expert in. If you’re a dentist contact the media during the next national smile week. If you’re an accountant, contact the local press before the next budget and tell them you’re an expert on tax and available for commenting on how the budget will impact local business. Get the picture? PR starts to be easy – when you know how.