Entrepreneurs and business people can sometimes feel out of their depth when thinking about doing their own publicity. Everyone knows that one way of getting your news into the press and media is to write and issue a press release.
The press release is an important tool and can be highly cost effective. Once you have written, issued, and followed-up the press release then your time commitments are only in proportion to how successful the story is. Of course, there is no guarantee of coverage once you have spoken to a journalist but understanding how journalists think and work puts you in a pretty good position to make the most of those opportunities.
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Writing an effective press release takes time and skill. You have very limited time to capture the interest of thh journalist, only really the first paragraph. The key in putting together and issuing an effective press release is to ensure it has real news value and is presented in the right way. That does not mean that something has to have just happened to be news. There are many ways you can use to ‘create’ news that will interest the press and media.
If you are stuck for your news angle then think about what your customers and prospects would be interested in, what value and expertise you provide. What expertise do you bring, what is it that you know about your area of expertise that your customers don’t?
You may need to be creative to identify your news angle – challenging thinking and being controversial is a useful way to spark debate and discussion. You are an expert and you need to convince the press and media, as well as your key target audiences, of that.
To test your news angle then ask yourself the following questions:
- what is the human interest in this story?
- have I answered the who, what, why, where, when and how questions in relation to this story?
- what impact will this news have on people?
Remember, neither journalists nor their readers, listeners or viewers are interested in stories that are just advertisements for your company. If you issue a press release which is just blatant promotion then it’s likely to be thrown in the bin. Using a press release just to promote your company will not help you to develop relationships with the press and media or build your reputation. News is called ‘news’ for a reason – you need to ensure that your press release lives up to that.