Monday, February 9, 2009

Pr And The Hidden Secrets Of The Media

In this article I will be sharing with you with The Hidden Secrets of the Media so your press releases and contact with the media gets results and your valuable time and effort isn't wasted.

And with the new year just with us you might think that this was the wrong time of year to get great results from Public Relations. If so then welcome to hidden secret number 1.

The Media need you more than you need them.

Let me explain.

If England are doing well in the World Cup or something extraordinary is happening in the World like 9/11, the July 7 London Bombings etc then the chances are the media wont be interested in your press release regardless of how well it is written or what it says.

The good news for businesses like yours is that the media often find themselves (particularly during certain times of the year) with not enough newsworthy material in which to fill their air time, newspaper, magazine or website.

By remembering this and whenever possible tailoring your press activity to the quieter times you have a much higher chance of your PR activity being successful.

The 2nd secret is along the same lines as number 1 in that it focuses on when you should actually send your press release. Hidden secret number 2 is therefore. Timing is the key to success

Journalists can often receive hundreds of press releases a week so your goal when it comes to sending one is to make sure it arrives on their desk or in their inbox at the best possible time. To do this you should really attempt to do a little research on your target media and find out When do they go to press?

The media have space to fill and if it isn't then it is gone forever. In the world of media something is always better than nothing. Therefore by sending your releases just prior to deadline dates then you often have a much better chance of your release being used.

On this note you can also get some amazing advertising rates by finding out when they go to press and calling just before that time to see if you can help the publication by filling a space. Notice that you are actually helping them rather than them helping you. We have all had sales people on the phone trying to sell advertising space at amazing rates and how they are going to help you achieve fantastic results. Do not believe a word of it. You are helping them. Remember that they would rather get 100 pounds or dollars for an advert that they would normally charge 750 pounds or dollars for than have a blank space or advertise their own publication.

Also when it comes to timing you might like to know that press releases received by journalists on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings between 10 and 11am get the best results. Therefore try sending out releases by post on Mondays and by email so they arrive in journalists in boxes at these times.

If you remember these secrets when writing and submitting your press release your chances of success will increase and so could your profits.

Small Business Marketing | How To Write An Article To Grow Your Business

Do you subscribe to internet newsletters, read books or buy the same magazine or newspaper on a regular basis?

If so, why?

Well my friends I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and say the main reason for you reading something on a regular basis is because what is being said is of interest to you. Yes I know that assumption or guess is hardly rocket science but when it comes to writing your articles you have to remember that the most important thing is the content.

The actual subject of your article isn't really that important in a way as the chances are there are people out there who will be interested in what you're writing about. However if you use articles as just another way to promote your business instead of focusing on your readers then I'm afraid your articles won't be read, won't be published by many people and won't bring you results.

So if killer content is the key how do you actually make sure you do it?

Well here are 5 top tips on how to write an article that if followed will turn your thoughts, observations and words on a particular subject into article gold dust.

Top Tip Number 1 – A.I.D.A

For those of you already familiar with A.I.D.A you'll know just how important having a structure to something is (be it a letter, an advertisement, a press release or an article).

A.I.D.A being:


For many articles you will only get a small opportunity to get the readers attention and make them want to read more. Therefore make sure your article begins with a catchy headline and ensure the first paragraph explains what the article is about (in many cases a problem) and how the article is going to solve the problem.

So once you get your readers attention, make sure what you're saying is interesting. How many times have you brought a book based on the cover, the title or what's written on the back only to start reading it and think BORING!

The same applies to your article writing. It is pointless promising the world and delivering next to nothing. Not only will it annoy the reader but it will also put them off your writing long term.

Also on the subject of interest make sure what you're saying is somehow different to the crowd (and believe me in the world of article writing there's a pretty big crowd). Don't worry though as they'll still be hundreds and thousands (and dare I say millions for the right articles) of people wanting to read well written articles.

Desire – what do you desire? The secret to great article writing is turning curiosity into a desire to get something. If you do that your article writing will transform your life and the lives of others. By that I mean that you have to make people really want to know what you have to say. Just imagine an article with the headline of "The secret of life finally revealed". I for one would want to know what it was.

Clearly your articles may not reveal such things but for many people across the World what you have to say will be important to them and they will want to know more. Examples being:

"This Years Top 10 Christmas Presents" – people will want to know what they are

"The secrets to playing better golf" – people will read it (I know I would)

"Why 8 out of 10 women prefer Chocolate to Sex" – women will probably want to know who the other 20% are and men will be checking the Top 10 Christmas Presents above to see if they should take the sexy underwear they've just brought their partners back to the shop and instead buy them a big bar of chocolate instead! (my tip on this is buy both – well, you never know!)

My point is, make people want and desire you knowledge.

The final point of A.I.D.A is Action but we'll look at that more in Top Tip number 5 next month.

Top Tip Number 2 – Share your secrets

I'm not a religious man myself but I'm sure there's a passage in the Bible somewhere about in order to receive you must at first giveth. The same is true with articles. The chances are you will be writing about something that you have some expertise in or you have a real passion for. With this in mind you shouldn't hold back with your knowledge. Instead share your knowledge and yes your trade secrets with your readers. And the good news is even if they don't agree with you; they will respect you sharing your thoughts with them.

Top Tip Number 3 – Benefits

If you're not an Information Technology expert and you have ever gone to purchase a computer you'll know what I mean here. You go into a computer shop and you're told all about the latest computer and what features it has. RAM, Hard Drive, Multiple USB's, Pentium Processors, Prompt Action Mean Drive. OK so I made the last one up but going shopping for a computer might as well be like attending a Rocket Science conference as far as many people are concerned because the sales people focus on the features and not the benefits. All I want to know can I set it up quickly and use the internet, can I write some letters and store accounts information and can I download and play the latest tunes and films. Tell me that and you might have a sale. Make me look stupid by using jargon and technical mumbo jumbo (is mumbo jumbo jargon by the way?) and I'll smile and way away.

Top Tip Number 3 is to focus on the benefits that your article gives.

If you're giving tips on how kittens can be taught to use a litter tray then focus on the benefits that your house and carpet won't smell of cat wee. If you're writing on how to get the best insurance deal then focus on you the fact that you will save time and money.

Features don't sell. Benefits do.

Use benefits in your article writing and watch your profits increase and your business grow.

The Secret To Getting Your Press Release Published

You have a newsworthy story that you want to release to the world in the form of a press release. It is well written and you are expecting it to bring you and your company free exposure. It is formatted correctly and it really says what you want it to say.

So then if you've done all of these things there is a good chance of your press release being acted upon right?


Well, not yet anyway.

You see you can have the best press release in the World but unless it is sent to the right person then there is still every chance it will not be dealt with (or at least dealt with in the way you want it to be).

This article is therefore all about making sure you contact the right person. There are many ways to do this and these include.

1. Buy a Media Guide

Publications such as the Guardian Media Guide or BRAD will contain useful information about who to contact in the press.

2. Get someone to do it for you

You can subscribe to a media contact service or use online press release agencies.

Both are perfectly valid options to making sure your press release reaches the right person but surely the best thing about PR is that it is free. Therefore to make sure it remains free how about option number 3?

3. Do it Yourself

In the UK during the 80s and 90s we went through a DIY explosion (not literally) with people wanting to do things themselves. This usually involved walking around Homebase or B&Q at a weekend buying things like shelves and drills, taking them home and then drilling through a cable and having no electric until Monday morning (or was that just me?)

Anyway, the Norties has produced a different breed of person. DIY has been replaced with GSI (or the get someone in generation). I mean why should you do it yourself when someone else can do it for you?

Well when it comes to PR and your business because it is cheaper, it is not as hard as your think, it is better in the long run and it gives you an amazing sense of achievement.

So then let us start with the basics. How exactly can you do it yourself?

You can use the internet to find publications or types of media you want to target (these could be magazines, local papers, television channels, websites and many more)

The internet is great as many of the media will have websites of their own containing useful information about who works there and who you need to contact. This could be list of journalists, editors or support staff. Basically find out their contact information and contact them.

You can do this by emailing your Press Release and making a phone call to make sure they have it. You can call them and ask for their e-mail address, then follow that up once sent.

You can send them your Press Release in the post and follow it up with an email or telephone call

You have to be persistent but once youve made contact and established they are the right person you can keep in touch with them.

What is vital when it comes to PR and business in general is that we prefer to deal with people we like. If you make a good first impression with the media getting future PR published will be so much easier. Your contact may actually come to you for stories. Remember, the media need you more than you need them. No stories equal No sales.

The Top Tips when it comes to contacting the right person are therefore:

1. Make it personal. Get your key contacts name and use it.

2. Be persistent. Phone them, email them, fax them and send them post. Keep doing this until you get a definite NO. What might not be news worthy today could be just what they are looking for tomorrow.

3. What is in it for them? People who work in the media don't have time to waste so when you are speaking to them get to the point and tell them the benefits of dealing with you.

4. Ask questions. If they aren't interested ask them if they know who will be. Journalists and people in the media have many contacts and one of them could be just the person to help you (and you to help them).

5. It might be a numbers game. Don't just send your press release to one person at a publication. Until you've established your main contact send it to anyone who might be interested – editor, journalists, deputy editor etc

6. Stay in touch. When you've established a good contact stay in touch and become their expert in your field. That way when they need something for your industry they will come to you. Send them a birthday or Christmas email. You would be amazed how the little things make the most difference.

7. Be remembered. The media love people with passion, with something to stay, people who are controversial, who are tenacious and who have opinions. Don't be boring as you will be instantly forgettable. Be remembered and be published.

Make contacts with the right people in the media and PR can become your best means of Marketing. Remember an article published by the media will generally produce much better results than an advert in the same publication as PR acts as a third party endorsement. It is the media almost recommending or endorsing your services or products.

How To Make Sure Your Press Release Gets Read

PR, Public Relations and writing Press Releases is something businesses of all shapes and sizes can do to help increase their profits and promote their business. This article looks at how your press release should look to give it the best chance of success.

Do you want to promote your business for free and give you the best possible chance of getting your business, product or service in front of the eyes of your customers? If so this article looks at how your press release should be presented to the media to ensure it:

1. Gets read
2. Gets acted upon
3. Doesn’t end up in the bin

The Format to Success and in particular how your press release should actually be presented to the media will give the best possible chance of success. You therefore need to focus on:

1. The Headline – you have to remember that the purpose of the headline is to get the journalists attention and to get them to read the remainder of the press release. The content of your press release may contain fantastic newsworthy information but unless the headline is strong it may never get read.

2. The First Few Paragraphs – journalists tend to like short paragraphs that grab their attention so the last thing you want to do is follow a killer headline with a block of text that they have to trawl through to find what you’re trying to say. The first few paragraphs should therefore focus on generating an interest in what you’re saying.

3. The Middle – journalists love facts and figures as they add real credibility to a release. Once you’ve therefore got their attention with the headline and first few paragraphs you should use the middle section to include any relevant facts and figures that will back up your release.

4. A Quote – a short quote from someone with something to say about the release (it could be you) is always a good idea. A quote gives journalists the chance to put it straight in the publication should they wish to. And providing it’s an interesting (or controversial) quote it shows them that if they want to contact you you’re likely to have something interesting and newsworthy to say. On this point the quote shouldn’t be too long. Just enough to maintain their interest and if possible leave them wanting more.

5. The End – The close of a press release is one of the most important parts but so many people end weakly and therefore miss out on coverage. The close has to include a clear, bold call to action. You have to tell the journalist who they need to contact and exactly how they can get in touch with you. Using something like “If you would like any further information please do not hesitate in contacting me” will not work whereas “To arrange an interview or for further information regarding (subject of release) contact XXXX at e-mail or call XXXXXX on 0191 XXXXXXX.

Other useful information on the format of a press release:

a. NEVER SUBMIT A PRESS RELEASE IN ALL UPPER CASE LETTERS. Some people believe it works as surely upper case means it’s important. WRONG!!! It isn’t easy on the eye and therefore it won’t get read. Use mixed case.

b. Spell check – I’ve mentioned this before but errors in grammar and spelling affect your credibility and potentially risk your release not being acted upon.

c. Length – If possible get your press release on one page (two at the most). Journalists don’t have time to read war and peace. That said if your press release doesn’t have more than one or two sentences, then the chances are it isn’t newsworthy.

d. Check it again – your press release is a chance to get exposure for your business so you want to make the right impression. Therefore write it, proof read it, get someone else to check it as well, rewrite it if necessary and make sure it says exactly what you want (and much more importantly, it says something of interest).

The truth is unless the format of your press release is correct the chances are you will never get your press release published (regardless of how newsworthy it is). Get great at public relations and see how small business marketing can help increase your profits and grow your business.

The 4 Ways To Grow Your Business In 2008

For many companies and businesses 2008 could be a difficult year. This article looks at what business owners can do during the next 12 months to help them grow their business.

I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired about hearing and reading about how the world in which we live in is such a terrible place. Yes, it’s far from ideal but does turning on the television, radio or picking up a newspaper only to hear of recession, poverty and strife really help us?

I for one, suspect it doesn’t and whilst I’m not suggesting you should bury your head in the marketing sand and assume everything is rosy and perfect in the world, I am suggesting that if you approach 2008 and beyond with the right attitude and mindset your chances of success will increase. And so with it will the chances of you and your customers being more successful.

The truth is many of your competitors and your customers are worried about what the New Year and the future holds for their businesses and livelihoods. There is nothing wrong with being concerned about a possible worldwide recession, falling house prices and rising interest rates to name a few things but likewise there will also be great opportunities for companies to flourish even in the hardest of times. In fact, I would argue that it is in the times of hardship that companies with the skills to out market their competitors will really see the greatest benefits.

You see, marketing when times are good is a lot easier as companies have more money to spend on marketing, advertising and on promoting their business. And customers (and potential customers) have more disposal income and are therefore more likely to buy products and services.

However, when times are tough every cent or penny is accounted for and counts more than ever so companies who can differentiate their products and services better than their competition have a much better chance of being successful. And whilst money and cash flow might be at the forefront of most companies minds I certainly wouldn’t encourage a total shift in your marketing strategy to focus on the cheapest is best route. People and businesses ultimately want value for money from the products and services they buy and this applies equally in times of hardship as it does when times are good.

2008 for the global economy and for you and I might be tough. It might be a struggle but if you dwell on the negatives that are constantly thrown at you I guarantee this will have an adverse effect on your business.

The New Year for many people is a time for change and new opportunities. From wanting to lose weight and give up tobacco on a personal level to wanting to increase your profits and grow your business on a professional one.

For smart marketers 2008 holds amazing opportunities so my tips for success this year are:

Tip #1 for Success in 2008

Focus on the positives and don’t get drawn into all the negative hype that is thrown at you from the media or politicians

Tip #2 for Success in 2008

Surround yourself with likeminded positive people

Tip #3 for Success in 2008

Become truly great at marketing your product or service (or find someone to do it for you)

Tip #4 for Success in 2008

Remember that YOU are ultimately what will make the difference between the next 12 months and beyond being successful or not

I wish you well.