Articles Tagged with press releases

Don’t be pushy

#SillySeasonPR #12

Don't be pushy! #SillySeasonPR

Don’t be pushy

“Come and interview us and we will give you an exclusive story.”

“This is our story and this is the angle.”

“I sent you a press release, but haven’t seen it in your newspaper.”

I’ve heard these a few times lately.

They don’t get you off to a very good start. I jump at the chance of an interesting interview or a good story and I’ve got a good nose for news and can usually tell (but not always).

Give yourself the best chance

Many press releases don’t get published.

This can be because they are:

  • irrelevant to the publication
  • inaccurate
  • an advert disguised as news
  • so poorly written that no one understands it
  • sent too late to meet the deadline
  • just not interesting

There are many reasons why they don’t get published, but don’t let being pushy be one of them.

How can I get my press release considered for publication?

  • Make it relevant – research the publication and tailor it accordingly
  • Check all the facts so that everything you say is correct
  • Don’t sell – tell a real story. Adverts aren’t news
  • Make sure it is well written. Let colleagues or friends read it to check they understand it
  • Send it in good time, especially if timing is essential, eg to publicise an event
  • Make sure it is interesting. Just because you are excited, doesn’t mean other people will be
  • Make yourself useful to journalists – help them do their jobs

If your press release is all of these things, it has a better chance of being considered for publication, but there is still no guarantee.

The editor could suddenly decide to reduce the number of pages in an issue so articles planned for inclusion will have to be left out.

Late news often arrives. A company making a lot of people redundant could take precedence over other news as could a company announcing a lot of new jobs.

However much we plan, we can’t tell what other news is going to come up.

Work with journalists

Journalists aren’t happy when they’ve been working on articles and their space is cut, so you won’t make them any happier by badgering them about including your press release.

The more helpful you are and the better the news you provide, the more likely a journalist will include it or try to give you coverage.

Being pushy will not help.

Your #SillySeasonPR #12 task is to review your press release to make it relevant, interesting and suitable for the publications you are targeting. Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: ? Visit to find out

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Where is everyone?

#SillySeasonPR #8

Where is everyone? #SillySeasonPR

Where is everyone?

Over the past week, I have been asking for comment from businesses for articles that I am writing. I sent emails, but the autoresponders bounced back: “I am currently on annual leave.” I wondered how I would get any comment if there was no one about.

This a good reminder of why we called this the #SillySeasonPR challenge.

So many people are on holiday, but there is still space to fill in publications.

I would rather write about real news that people are interested in reading rather than silly ones just to fill space.

Take the opportunity

Now is your opportunity to take advantage of the ‘silly season’ when many businesses close down their PR machinery as they go on holiday. In early September, there will probably a flood of press releases as they try to catch up.

Take advantage of this lull.

Oh, and I did eventually get the comments I wanted. Those businesses will get the benefit of coverage in a newspaper.

Your #SillySeason PR task #8 is to get cracking on your press releases before the end of the silly season. Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: ? Visit to find out

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business and sign up to our newsletter.

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Is that adjective redundant?

This is a great blog. I know that because I wrote it myself.

What?

All right, it’s a blog, but who says it’s great?

That’s the trouble with adjectives. You can slip them into text here and there and they sound fine until someone else reads them.

As a newspaper writer, I cut adjectives. Press releases tell me that a development is ‘exciting’ or a product is ‘unique’. When I read these words, I look for proof. Too often it is not there. I cut the adjectives.

At one time I used such words myself until I realised that few things are truly ‘great’ and that it’s unlikely that someone really ‘loves’ cake. Perhaps we’d better not go there.

Of course, we are often excited by our own work, but we are biased. Will everyone think the same? Perhaps customers are excited and will be happy to be quoted in a press release, although it could still be a minority opinion.

If you have facts to prove that an event attracted the ‘biggest’ audience recorded or that a product has won an award as the ‘best’ of its type, then do make the most of these achievements. Superlatives can be powerful when they are accurate.

So I know this is not the ‘greatest’ blog you’ve ever read and I won’t pretend it is.

 

Overcome fear to tell your story

All businesses need to create a presence so that customers know that they are there. Whether this is through marketing and advertising or from word-of-mouth recommendations, awareness is essential for getting work.

I find that many people are still wary of trying out many of the marketing tools that are available to them. In my role as a business writer for a local newspaper, I often receive phone calls starting with a business owner saying gingerly “I don’t know if you’ll be interested in this . . . ” and then going on to tell a cracker of a story. Of course, the opposite of this is the business owner who sends in press releases regularly with ‘news’ that is only of interest to them. I believe many businesses have good stories to tell and need the confidence to tell them.

While an effective PR consultant can help, businesses without a budget can . . . and do . . . achieve media exposure through their own efforts. With thought and planning, a clear idea of what you want to achieve and a focus on what you will and what you won’t talk about, public relations can be a very cost effective tool.

This applies not only to PR but also to blogging, social media and more. Perhaps you see your competitors getting exposure and feel that you offer a better service than they do, but how will people find that out? Often a voice can tell us that “no one wants to hear about that”, but it’s probably that we’re afraid of standing up and telling our story, a bit like the fear of public speaking.

I’m often encouraging people to talk about their businesses because so many are fascinating and deserve wider exposure. With social media, colleagues and associates can help to share your stories and support you.

There really are many opportunities to tell your stories and people who want to hear them.

Robert Zarywacz is a copywriter and journalist who has written thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. He also researches and writes press releases, case studies and newsletters for clients as well as managing social media and PR campaigns at z2z.com. Robert is the business writer for the North Devon Journal, chairman of COMBEbusiness and courtesy consultant for the National Campaign for Courtesy. Follow @robertz on Twitter.

Who’s more excited: you or your customers?

Many journalists receive a lot of press releases and many press releases are remarkably similar to each other. What will make your story stand out from the rest?

Because we all work hard to develop our businesses, achievements seem exciting to us. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be so exciting for anyone else.

Take awards schemes, for example. It could be a big achievement to win an award in a specific sector, but if a journalist receives awards stories from three other businesses at the same time, it’ll seem like just another award accompanied by yet another photo of more people in evening dress.

Grabbing people’s attention and making the story individual is the challenge. Sometimes it can be really easy and at others it can be more of a challenge.

Start by thinking what is likely to excite your customers or target audience: they are the ones you want to impress. It’s also a good idea to analyse the types of story that specific publications publish so you can develop an angle that will fit in with their style.

What’s the point of this? To ensure that any press release or material you produce has got a better chance of success.

Time and effort spent on producing something that is unlikely to grab people’s attention is probably better spent on doing something that will work.

With a bit of thought and practice it becomes easier to identify an interesting angle for your story as you learn what excites your readers and what journalists want to publish. This will improve your chances of obtaining valuable PR coverage.

Make it easy

With businesses pumping out so much information in press releases, newsletters, blogs and tweets, how much of it is clear?

Clarity is important when readers have so much to read. If they can’t understand something, it needs to be very important for them to take the time to re-read it or contact you for clarification. Most likely they won’t bother and will move on to the next item, possibly from a competitor. If that is easy to read and understand, you’ll have lost out.

When you’re close to your business, you understand the complexities: how everything fits together. It won’t be so clear to someone who doesn’t know your business. Often, people give up if they find something confusing.

Sometimes it isn’t necessary for customers to know about complex issues which are important to the internal processes of your business. If that’s the case, don’t mention them or you’ll add unnecessary complexity.

Where you do have to mention complexity, such as different brands or subsidiaries dealing with different products or services, make sure that these are explained clearly. If not, customers won’t know who to contact about what and they could feel it is easier to go to a competitor.

Why am I writing this? Because I am trying to write about a company which appears to have a similar sister company offering a similar product and I have had to ask them to clarify the set-up. Not everyone would bother to ask.

Improve your PR results with basic research

My work as a freelance journalist constantly reminds me what businesses should and should not do to get press coverage.

Above all, the simplest thing anyone can do is find out the right person to receive a press release on a specific topic.

What surprises me is that even though direct dial telephone numbers and email addresses of journalists sometimes accompany articles they write, many people don’t think to look for these. How do I know? Because inappropriate press releases are often forwarded by one journalist to another.

Now, if you’ve spent 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or however long writing a press release – time that could have been spent earning money from your customers – it makes sense to ensure that it gets to the right person.

I’m a forgiving soul and look at most material I receive, but not everyone is.

So before you send: look for the right person, find out their contact details and address the press release to them personally.

Does it work? Yes, because many people are doing this and get through direct to me. It’s a good start because I know they have put some thought into what they’re doing, so probably have a good story to tell. They have established my interest.

I would also recommend researching target publications before starting to write a press release, because then you will know what type of articles they tend to publish and can tailor yours to suit their style.

Posted via email from z2zine

Is vague the new grey in PR?

Is it the hot weather or is there another reason for a plague of vague press releases?

Lately, as part of my journalist role, I’ve been receiving a lot of press releases that not only miss the occasional detail but sometimes the entire story: awards to companies for something or other, presentations to an individual who worked for a couple of organisations, a financial services provider supplying . . . financial services.

Now, every journalist has specific interests and what’s interesting about the role is discovering a nugget about the topic or area you cover. I enjoy picking up the phone to find out more about a story, but not to dig out the basic details so I can figure out whether it’s interesting or not.

These press releases have come from press offices of UK government agencies and business organisations as well as from private companies. Does it matter?

Well, clients are paying fees to PR agencies and employers paying staff to produce and distribute these press releases when a lot businesses now promote themselves very effectively. Last week, I suggested an idea for a photo to accompany a company’s press release and the next morning I received a high quality image from them by email. There was no PR agency involved and I didn’t receive a tiny 72dpi, badly posed image, like the government agency sent.

If that’s the case, why use a PR agency or corporate marketing professional? Why not do it yourself?

I see it as a warning to anyone in PR, marketing and communications to sharpen up and provide the value that clients and employers expect . . . or perhaps they won’t want to pay for us any more.

Posted via web from z2zine

Are they interested in what you’re interested in?

When you’ve got something you want to tell the rest of the world, it’s easy to rattle on enthusiastically about what you find interesting, usually something of great value to your business. But how do you know if a journalist or editor will find it interesting too?

Even large organisations and public relations agencies sometimes forget to ask this.

A call to a journalist, if they’re accessible, can confirm what, if anything, will interest them in your story, while familiarity with a publication can help you to tailor your press release, article or other news snippet to its specific readership.

If you’re managing your own PR, you can do this yourself. If you pay an agency, make sure that they are tailoring releases to targeted media.

It’s worth doing, as if you’re going to send out press releases, or pay someone else to write and send them out, you’ll get better value for money if your news has a chance of actually being published.

Posted via web from z2zine

Too much to handle?

There are few people in business who have enough time to sit twiddling their thumbs. In fact, the reason for the gap between our last blog and this one is that we’ve been extremely busy. So what do you do when new business enquiries go ballistic and there isn’t any time to blog, send out press releases and manage all your other marketing activities?

The worst thing you can do is to stop everything. The most important aspect of all marketing and communications is to do them regularly, even if only in small doses. They really are like great locomotives which require a lot of effort to start from a standstill, but far less to keep rolling at low speed.

The danger of letting your marketing activities stall is that they will take a long time to restart if you find business drops off and you suddenly need to generate new enquiries. By keeping everything ticking over, web sites and blogs will continue to work for you and attract enquiries.

So take this into account when planning your marketing and communications to ensure that, however busy you are, you don’t neglect them. We’re still very busy, but finding time to keep this blog rolling.

After our last blog, have you checked your content? We were alerted to a broken link on one of our web pages and fixed it, as there can never be room for complacency.

z2zine tomorrow: More words are not any easier to understand

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