By Noel Peebles
There is nothing like a good positive news story to put a business on the map. Done right; it
will create more attention and have more credibility than thousands of dollars worth of
paid-for advertising. But how do you achieve that?
Start by writing a press release. Keep it short and to
the point. Don't ramble. Use short sentences and paragraphs.
Concentrate on the news angle you've come up with.
Write a good attention-grabbing headline. The purpose of
the press release is not to tell your story. Its sole
purpose is to attract the attention of whichever journalist
is assigned the task of going through that day's pile of
press releases. You've got to make that journalist stop and
read your release. You have to realize that the journalist
is not just sitting there waiting for your press release to
arrive. The fact is that most press releases don't get read.
The headline and first paragraph must not be boring.
If it doesn't immediately scream "I'm newsworthy!" ...then
your press release will get thrown in the bin without
another glance. Journalists are busy people and have
deadlines to meet.
If your press release grabs a journalist's attention,
they'll most likely pass it on to another journalist
and tell them to phone you. So you'd better be by your
phone waiting for the call. As I said, they are busy
people. More news comes up all the time and if you're
not home they might not phone again. Something else may
crop up that appears more newsworthy.
Here's what I'd do. Send a great press release telling
them why they'd be crazy not to interview you. Tell them
when and where you'll be available for a photo and story.
Not something alike "I'll expect you at 63 Brown Street
at 4pm Wednesday... please bring a photographer."
It would be better to say "America's biggest ever pizza
will be crane lifted onto a truck at 4pm Tuesday before
being delivered to feed poor families in South Dakota.
Please phone me urgently to arrange a time and place
for an interview"
To feed poor families...? By a crane...on a truck?
It's a newsworthy gimmick. It's unusual, it's visual
and it has "warm fuzzies" attached to the story. It
will make the journalist think "photo opportunity...
this is worth covering. I'd better phone now."
So, the first step to getting your news story published is
to put yourself in the shoes of the journalist reading your
release. The journo is looking to read something that will
capture the attention and interest of their readers
(or listeners in the case of a radio station). He or she
doesn't want to read an advertisement for your business.
The trick therefore, is to involve your business in the
resulting publicity, without giving the appearance of it
being the result of blatant advertising.
How to Sell Your News to Reporters
If you want create a PR campaign that is
effective and consistent, you must learn to
market your story to the news media. You must
learn to treat reporters as the customers who
will either buy or reject your product: raw
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