You can have the best business in the world, but if no one knows about it, then how are you going to get more orders? The best way to get publicity when you start out in business is to get free coverage by writing press releases. This may sound like a scary thought, but follow my advice and you’ll be well on your way to hundreds or even thousands of pounds worth of free coverage in the media. As an experienced broadcast journalist myself, who runs the successful media company, Industry Insiders, and a former Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award winner, I understand the market.
There are three golden rules of getting your press release into the media.
1. Write about something that really interests you about the company. It could be a new invention, taking on a new staff member, getting a big order or even winning an award. Write it in an engaging, exciting way and journalists will pick up your enthusiasm as well.
Journalists are extremely busy people and often don’t put stories into newspapers or onto news bulletins on radio stations if the information looks too complicated, isn’t clear, or involves a lot of extra work for the member of staff. Make sure your article is written in a clear and concise way with the main headline at the top, information in the middle, a quote next and then a conclusion at the end. (See the Related Downloads section for an example).
2. So you’ve got your press release, now you need to get it out to the right people. Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to getting into publications.
- Take half an hour to sit down and write down all the newspapers, online news pages and radio stations in your local area. If you’re worried where to look, go to www.mediauk.com for a full list of every radio station, newspaper, magazine and TV station in the UK.
- Once you've got your list, email or call up and ask for the best person to email through your story to. Sound enthusiastic, interested about your story and emphasise that it’s not a hard sell advert, but an interesting story that you really think will be of interest to their target audience. Submit your story by email by copying the press release into the body of the text as well as attaching it (to maximise the chance of someone reading it). Write a very short introduction about the release and why you think it would make a great story for the readers to hear about.
- Include a picture in your release if it's going to newspapers, or any online medium as images increase the change of your story getting published. Company logos are not considered pictures.
If your story is of national importance, repeat steps 1-3 with the national media, including newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. What often happens is that national outlets pick up stories that have appeared in regional areas, so one option when going down this route is to say which media publications and stations you’ve already received coverage on, and what they thought of the story.
3. If you haven’t had a response by phone or email after a couple of days, chase it up. Journalists get bombarded with sales calls and emails from PR agencies every day and it might just be that they haven’t seen your email, or they’ve forgotten about the phone call. Chasing up a story not only helps to ensure it gets printed or broadcast, but also starts to build the relationship you have with the journalist, so it’s easier to get the story in next time.
It's important to remember that media outlets really like individuals contacting them with stories so you do have a good chance of getting published, especially in the local media, because they're not being 'sold’ the story from a PR Agency.
Once you have your story in the media, either keep a cutting or try to access it online and use it on your website for further publicity. It also ties in really nicely if you have a big social networking presence on Facebook or Twitter – you’ve got to shout about your achievements. I hope you find these steps useful and if you have any questions then just message me on the online community. Good Luck!