First, its important to know
the difference between editorial and advertising. With advertising,
you get what you pay for because, well, you have to pay for advertising.
You say what you want to say, how you want to say it , and you
can be as biased as you want, extolling your virtues to your
hearts content. You get to proof the copy before its published
and change what you don't like.
Editorial is a different story.
Editorial is written by journalists to be factual and unbiased.
You don't get to dictate how the story is written, you don't
get to see it before its published and you don't have a say in
when it appears. In any credible publication, you can't buy editorial.
Its free, but its worth much more than advertising.
When preparing your new release,
think "news". What's new? What's special? What's different?
Why should anyone care? Would you care if it wasn't your company/product/service?
"Put your story front and center," says Alfred Holden,
assistant business editor at the Toronto Star in Toronto.
Find something newsworthy . Target
your approach then get to the point, stick to the facts and the
belief that solid market information is what gets published.
Forget puffery. Explain the product, even if its technical, in
a way that will be understood by people who are not experts in
News releases should include
your name, address, e-mail and phone number, not just that of
a public relations company, and tell when the service will be
available. Make the journalists job as easy as you can . "its
not the big picture that gets these journalists down. It's the
little things that get in their way over and over again. News
releases without lists of contacts; contacts who are never there
or who don't answer their voice mail until the end of the day
news news conferences," says the Angus Reid Survey.
Adding reams of corporate history
to the release is another waste of time and money. And forget
about quotes telling about how great the sales staff is. Editors
won't use those kinds of quotes.
- Include words such as :"first,
best and biggest" only if you can prove it and avoid overused
words such as "unique"
- Before you send out a news release,
familiarize yourself with the publication you want to pitch your
idea to, then find out who to direct the query to. Check the
masthead, call the specific department or ask at the switchboard.
- Buckshoting information with
the flick of an email or fax is not high on journalists' likability
lists. Instead, single out individuals and find out how they
prefer to receive their information.
- Don't get a reputation for sending
useless releases, and don't send out many releases. When dealing
with magazines, phone and ask for an editorial line up, which
will tell you what topics the publication plans to cover, and
when. More importantly, find out what the final dates are for
material. Don't send releases so long in advance that they're
going to yellow.
- Another way to get publicity,
and to build your credibility, is to write a guest column. You
provide the column to the publication for free in return for
credit, and sometimes a picture to accompany the column. A
word of advice: if you can't write, hire a ghost writer. Editors
don't have the time to do major rewriting and are more likely
to use material that requires little editing.