by Felicia Hudson
Welcome to my first guest blogger, Felicia Hudson of Hudson Creative Copy. This is the second in a series of posts about using marketing strategies beyond social media to promote your small business. The first in the series covered a realtor’s use of QR codes.
There is a well-known adage that no publicity is bad publicity. Well, yes and no.
It’s possible to unknowingly alienate editors—the exact people you need to pick up your press releases—by engaging in publicity whore activity. I once worked for a marketing director who insisted we send out two to five press releases per week to keep the company name in the news. Not the best way to get the attention of editors.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you face the challenge of not only writing an enticing press release, but getting it picked up by reporters or editors as well. These six tips can help your press release avoid the circular file or “delete” button:
- Share legitimate news—hence the term “press” release. Stick to the critical information that you want your audience to know about.
- Don’t write a press release as though it’s a marketing piece. It’s not. Editors know you want to share information about your company—that’s why you’re sending a press release. Write succinctly and concisely so the editor can find the valuable hook in your release. Don’t make them dig for it.
- Respect the editor’s time. This goes along with tip #2. Don’t slam editors with poorly written press releases as you cross your fingers and hope for the best. Be strategic in what you are sending and how often. Before you send it, ask yourself if you are really communicating something of value; or is it just self-serving publicity?
- Keep your press release to one page. The press release is a vehicle to drive your target audience to contact you for more information. Don’t try to cram extraneous background information into your release. Stick to the facts and drive potential customers or clients to your website, or a contact at your company, for more information.
- Make sure your press release contains the essentials. Even the best penned press release is useless if it doesn’t contain the facts reporters and editors need. Include your marketing person’s (or yours) contact information (phone number where the press can reach you), date the news is being released and location from which the release is being made—also known as the dateline.
- Establish relationships with editors. Get to know the editors of the publications you send press releases to. Interact with them via phone, Twitter, e-mail or whichever way you choose, but do connect with them (connect—don’t stalk!) Be gracious when they do pick up a press release. If you find that most or all of your releases are being passed up, ask the editor what you can do to change that. Don’t be aggressive—just ask nicely. Let them know you’re willing to do the work.
Do you have any tips on press release distribution to share?
Photo credit: MorgueFile.com
Felicia Hudson is a Chicago-based freelance writer and principal of Hudson Creative Copy, which specializes in helping clients reach their communication goals through copywriting, journalism, marketing communications and internal/external communications for digital and print formats.