How To Get FREE Media Publicity With Your Short AnnouncementBy: Kevin Nunley
Every day radio, TV, newspapers, and ezines give away millions of dollars in free publicity. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the sound of your favorite radio announcer enthusiastically recommending your product, service, or idea. Your good reputation can spread far and fast, virtually over night.
Usually businesses send out press releases to get their news to editors. But there is something many editors like even more: a media announcement.
Media announcements are short. They usually have a headline, a paragraph or two with more details, and contact information. That's it.
Here is an example:
Try your hand writing your own media announcement. You can use my media announcement creator at InternetWriters.com/release.htm Simply enter your contact info and a few sentences about your business and--presto--your announcement is created and emailed to you.
Editors like the short, simple, easy-to-grasp format. When you've got 100 press releases crossing your desk, a quick message is always welcome.
Use your headline and paragraph to focus on the "juicy" part, as I like to call it. In the example, stars from a hit movie appearing locally was the juicy part. It's the hook that an editor knows will interest many people in their audience.
That last point is the key to getting press. It's not what you feel is important, it's what the EDITOR thinks her audience is interested in that counts.
Most media people instinctively believe they can interest the audience in only a few stories at a time. They know their best bet is to connect new stories to topics that already have the public's attention.
Look for ways to connect your story with topics the media covers frequently. Media love celebrities, scandals, community improvement, and politics. They love science and technology stories when they pertain to our health or scare people (I know, it's a cynical point, but a key factor, especially in TV news programming).
Media especially like local angles on a national or international story. If Congress is about to pass a controversial law affecting cookie production, Rotworth Cookies can get local coverage by explaining how the law will impact its many employees, all who are local citizens known by many in the audience.
All media like controversy, but talk radio likes it most. One smart radio programmer once told me "if talk radio doesn't have controversy, it's dead." TV likes events that are visual. That's why you see the mayor opening a new store with a giant key or the CEO of a business giving a giant check to a charity. Newspapers deal more with ideas and what people said. Make sure
you have some interesting, colorful, or pithy comments ready forthe reporter that calls.
How do you distribute your media announcement? Call and tell your news to the person in the newsroom who answers the phone. Then email, fax, or regular mail your announcement. It doesn't hurt to do all three (some editors might get annoyed, but most aren't that organized and appreciate you making sure they get multiple opportunities to use the material).
Above all, make sure you are ready and available to provide more details. The entire point of a media announcement is to get the editor interested and on the phone with you. Many like to email. Provide several phone numbers where you can be reached and an email address you check often. Many times a reporter will call you hours or minutes before deadline. Fail to get back with them quickly, and your story will be skipped.
Some editors may say "send me more information..fast!" Have a press packet ready. This could include an expanded version of
your media release. Add more information to it to get a full page press release. Photos also work well if you regular mail them or put them on a web page. A link to the page can go in your press release.
A cover letter isn't necessary, but it's a good idea to include a bio sheet. Tell what your business or organization does, how you got started, your history, and your plans for the future. Be sure to include quotes that could be used in an article or on the air.
Broadcast media--radio and TV--like a list of questions they can ask you. You can also provide the answers to the questions. This can work well for print media as well.
What editors really want is for you to help them do their job. When I was in media, I gave away thousands in free publicity. I never looked at it as giving away publicity, just as looking for interesting stories my audience would appreciate. If a business helped me do that, then I was more than happy to give them a "plug," mentioning their name and product.
Be persistent. Send just one media announcement out and you probably won't get much response. Success comes when you consistently look for ideas or events to tell the media about.
The biggest PR successes haven't come from great stories as much as from small business folks who just won't give up. Take out a calendar and jot down events you could stage over the next few months. It might be an event at your store, one you put on with a local charity, a new section of your web site, or you as activist in a local controversy or cause.
© 2002 DrNunley.com.
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.