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.
Author of many books, including Making the Internet Work for Your Business, copywriter and journalist Angela Booth also writes copy for businesses large and small, and consults on search engine marketing. Angela has written copy for companies in many industries, ranging from technology and real estate to the jewellery trade. Her clients include major corporations like hp (Hewlett Packard), WestPac Bank, and Acer Computer. For copywriting services and marketing advice contact Angela at angelabooth.com.