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.