Boost Your Business with the Power of the Press
Every day you probably either skim through the newspaper, search online for the latest news, or even kick back on your sofa to relax and watch the news on TV.
You come in contact with the news every day, but have you ever wondered how the news is created? Have you ever wondered how people become experts in their field, people that may be your business competitors?
Have you wondered how you might become featured in local, or maybe even national, press?
The answers to these questions are far simpler than you might think. You actually have the means to get your message out there at this very moment. Continue reading below to discover just how a humble press release could boost your business.
Aren’t press releases a little last century?
You might think press releases are old news. These days it seems that everything you could possibly need to boost your business is found online. You already have a Facebook account, an Instagram, a blog, a website – surely, all you have to say to the world is already out there. This may be the case, but simply being ‘out there’ isn’t enough as there many other people doing the same thing you do that are ‘out there’ as well.
Because of all the competition, if you don’t package your message in a compelling way and/or deliver it to the right person in a timely fashion, many of your competitors will. Don’t let them beat you to the punchline again!
So, why are press releases so effective?
We live in a world where no one seems to have enough time. Journalists are no exception to this notion as newsrooms around the globe are facing cutbacks. Journalists simply don’t have the time, or the monetary allowances, to physically chase stories or chat with potential interviewees over long lunches.
To make the most out of their time, they do try to search the internet in an effort to find an interesting story or idea. Through this method they may come across your business online, but chances are slim. However, one thing journalists do have time to do every day is check their email. Making sure one of your nicely packaged story ideas is sitting in their inbox, waiting for them as they begin working in the morning, is surely going to get you noticed.
But, hold on a minute! Before you jump on the computer and send out tons of information about your business to anyone you can think of, here are five tips to get you started.
- Know who you are talking to. This may sound obvious, but nothing annoys a journalist more than being referred to as a male when she’s a female, or being sent a story that would be perfect for the sports section when they write for the business section. Also, it is important to stay up to date on which journalist is currently in each role- if you contact a journalist that was in that position five years ago, but not today, it will make you, and your story, seem extremely out-of-date. Make sure to do your research and contact the correct person in a timely manner.
- Know what you want to say. What is the unique story you want to present? First, come up with a great headline. Next, make sure you sell your story in the first paragraph with a great opening sentence. Then use the rest of the page to add necessary extra information in a style that is easy to read.Never write more than one page as it probably won’t ever be read. Also, never send your press release as an attachment, always send it in the body of the e-mail. It’s important to do this because journalists often have hundreds of e-mails that they have to read every day and they often don’t waste their time opening attachments or clicking on links.
- Be timely. What do you have to say right now? Do you have a unique project in the works? Is something happening in the news at the moment that you feel you could offer an opinion on? Also, don’t be afraid to sell yourself as an expert, your competitors do all the time!
- Host an event. If you have the budget and the opportunity, why not host an event? It doesn’t even have to be an expensive dinner, a simple breakfast meeting showcasing your latest innovation or idea may be just what you need.Hosting an event gives you the opportunity to invite journalists from all of your local media outlets. Also, keep in mind that journalists are a competitive group of people, they won’t want their competitors getting the same scoop they get. If one story idea has been taken by the competition they may look for another angle. So, be ready to provide multiple angles. Oh, and have good sandwiches. Journalists don’t have the funds for long lunches, so make sure you offer to feed them when you send the invitation.
- Don’t despair. You may have crafted the perfect press release, the answer from the journalist may still be ‘no thanks’. Ask yourself who else you could send your press release to. If a journalist does turn you down, did they give you a reason? Is there someone else in the same organization you could send it to? Just because one journalist doesn’t like the idea doesn’t mean another won’t. It’s important to grow a thick skin and keep trying.
In a nutshell, if you send out the right information in a timely manner and don’t become a pest, your local journalist will often run your story. If they don’t use your idea this time they will often keep your details on file for when they do need a story or an expert in your field. Oh, and they will remember those sandwiches!