Recently, I have been writing a number of press releases for clients. This can be tricky business, because you need to engage the reader rather than simply announce an event, so that your news is deemed worthy of reporting by the media. My background in journalism serves me well, because I know what reporters are looking for and how to pique their interest. If you are rolling out a new product or service, here are three quick tips to generating media buzz with your press release:
- Find the Hook – You only have to pick up a paper or watch the evening news to quickly see which topics are the hot stories for reporters. Everybody will be covering the same issue, whether it’s the economy, a political dispute, new technology, or a recent natural disaster. Your press release is more likely to be picked up if you can tie into these happenings and ride the wave of news coverage. Reporters have to pitch ideas to their producer or managing editor before getting the green light, and you can help them demonstrate the relevance of your story by linking it to other events that are getting coverage currently.
- Look for Lulls – The best time to send out a press release is during a news lull. Since half of the news that gets reported each day has to do with happenings in the local, state and federal government, generally there is a lull in the news is when government offices are closed. Try to time your announcements to national holidays, like Memorial Day or Columbus Day, when reporters are eager to find filler for the long weekend. If you can tie your topic into the holiday somehow, even better. Either way, you are more likely to grab a reporter’s attention when you are not competing with current affairs on the political front.
- Pick Up the Phone – Wire services, like PRWeb.com, are great resources for reaching thousands of local and national news outlets, but contacting a reporter directly is still the best way to get their attention. Find out who covers your beat in the local market; for example, if you are promoting a new tutoring service, research who covers education issues for your local paper or television news stations. Check out some of their latest work and give them a call. Briefly introduce yourself, tell them how much you enjoyed their recent story on ________, and then suggest another story they might be interested in (namely, yours). By demonstrating that you are familiar with their work and providing them with a solution – a lead on another story – you become an ally to the journalist, rather than a nameless person or company looking for media coverage on the wire.
As in any industry, making personal connections and nurturing those relationships will serve you well when you are generating buzz about your product or service. Don’t merely limit your PR efforts to the news media, but also get the word out to executives and industry insiders who might be able to help you land speaking engagements, or make a direct introduction to a reporter or producer. Also, make sure you have a plan to follow-up with targeted contacts when you do send out information, whether on the wire or via fax or email. Persistence pays off in PR, and picking up the phone could result in that coveted interview you’ve been seeking.
Need a press release for your business? Contact Dallas freelance writer Leslie J. Thompson at 214-704-6661.