As a PR Client you need to follow the rules

Publicity agencies and pr clients sometimes loose sight of how to write a press release for the media.

Get your pr release noticed by editorsWhen you submit a release to a publisher, editor, or a freelance writer, it is important to follow the basic rules when writing "newsworthy" releases.

All releases should follow these simple rules:
• WHO
• WHY
• WHERE
• CONTACT

Keep in mind WHO the publication’s audience is when writing. Sometimes it is necessary to modify a release if the audience varies even slightly.

Know WHY it is an important release. The product or service may be important to you, but what about the readers and your industry. Make it important to them and the editors will then not toss your release into the trash.

If the press release has a location, such as an event, seminar, or announcement of the unveiling, be sure to mention this. Otherwise, pr clients need to list the location as their main office, or headquarters. Publicity agencies need to also list the pr clients location, not theirs.

Finally, put the contact info for the pr client. The publicity agency should also include their contact info as the focal point. Be sure the person listed is available to respond in a timely manner.

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Look inside the company for possible new articles

It is the job of the publicity professional to find that special slant, or angle to get an article visibility in the media. Without going into controversial issues, you can find lots of potential publicity articles by looking at your own company closer than normal.

Most of the media will accept these as possible articles, but it only takes one publisher to run the article to make this a successful campaign. It will also keep the company name visible to editors, writers and other media, so when you send other releases, you will be a familiar name to them.

There’s and article titled "What’s Your Backstory?" that hits my point home. For years I have tried to get clients to think outside of the publicity box. This isn’t always easy, because new ideas tend to scare pr clients into thinking, "who wants to read that?". But that isn’t always true. A publicity expert can transform a good story into an interesting article, without adding false or misleading information.

An example the article gave was for a doctor. Here is a short list of topics for a doctor:

  • What experience led the doctor to enter the medicine field?
  • What was or is the most difficult case ever faced
  • Humorous situations the doctor encountered
  • Try an angle on interns, the doctor mentored

I am sure you see how digging deeper into a company can uncover other publicity angles. When your publicity agency begins to develop the pr campaign, the best public relations service you can do is to provide something in the "backstory" or a human interest on a specific executive. Try it, you can only gain more exposure with the press by doing this.

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What gets the attention of editors to publish your article

Everyone wants to read a good book. But what about an article that a reporter, or publisher or editor must put in their magazine, or other print media, do they prefer fiction or non-fiction.

It should go without saying, but the fiction stuff is what they really want. Sometimes publicity people, or pr writers get a little too close to the topic and want to make it more interesting so they add some non-fiction stuff to fluff up the story.

This is what gets you in trouble.

Fiction is what reporters want. Something that has a hook to it is not boring and yet has interest.

Ok, not every article you read is like that. And yes, a few boring articles enter this media.

I saw a pr article by Peter Turkington where he uses the 5 "w’s" to describe what you need in a good article. These are the who, what, where, when, why and how that we all learned in school and journalists classes. Peter goes on to say that the media looks for another "w". It is the Why should anyone care?

He explains that you need to make articles newsworthy. Well, we already know that. But I still feel as much as this is important, you also need to build relationships with the media. Because not everything you write, or read is full of newsworthy stuff. It just isn’t possible.

If you happen to have a unique product or your timing is good with the introduction of a product (such as security items since 911) you have a good chance to get some ink.

So as much as it is important to be newsworthy, it needs to be said that relationships with the media, and the timing of your story are also factors in getting something published.

You can expand on this further by knowing the publication, or the news media you are approaching. Know their readership and audience. Then make sure you have written the story for that audience and the editor/reporter to read.

These are some tips to getting in the news. Other ways exist, but for now consider these as a first start.

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What to do to make it right with the media

Editorial is "priceless". That’s what we are told in the publicity industry.

But how do you get publicity for clients, or for yourself. You need to understand what the media want and what they don’t want.

Too many times, eager pr people are trying to sell their idea and forget to put in perspective what their job really is.

It is to make the reporter, publisher, or editor’s job easier by supplying compelling information about a product or service that their readers will enjoy (benefit from).

One of the things to do is attend your industry’s trade shows. If you can only afford to attend one, or two, select the ones that will make the most impact.

Then do your homework. Just like knowing the buyers of that industry, you should know the media. Know about each publication that interests you, making sure these are the right fit for your company.

Then put together a press kit. The kit should contain a fact sheet, a bio on key personnel, and several releases. If possible, include a company brochure or a product brochure. Don’t put a catalog in the kit. Too much sales information will only get your press kit tossed out!

Assemble information that can be worthwhile to a reporter. Such as industry trends, statistics on your product and how it compares to competitors, new technology, techniques and useful advice. Whenever possible attach a letter, or fact sheet from the CEO, or president of the company describing the outlook of your industry…not your company’s outlook, but the industry.

If you schedule it correctly, invite several press in your booth, or at designated room to hold a small press conference. Make sure you have something worthy to say, or it will haunt you forever.

Also, never assume the reporters know about you, or your industry. I don’t mean that you bring the level of conversation to a 3rd grade. But if the media is diverse in your market, give them some credit, but don’t make them feel foolish by using a lot of abbreviated terms that only you or the "in" people of the industry use.

Last point. The reporter you talk to today just might be that publisher or editor tomorrow at a major publication. So treat all the media with high respect and it will pay off.

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