Many business professionals think that PR is a mystical process and only expensive publicists with contacts in high places can get publicity for them. Wrong!
In fact, anyone can learn to do the things necessary to get publicity. One benefit of doing your own publicity is that you know your business better than anyone else. That means you can spot opportunities and communicate information about your business better than anyone else.
Another benefit is that you will save money. A publicist retainer can cost thousands of dollars a month. When you do your own PR, there is no guarantee that you will get any media attention. However, those expensive publicists don’t guarantee publicity, either.
With a little practice, you can learn to write an effective press release. Look for examples of press releases that worked, and use them as models to write your press releases. (You can find many successful press releases in Million Dollar Publicity, available for instant download.)
What can you do to get your press release (and your business) noticed by the media? Here are five tips that can start making you famous.
Know what is newsworthy. The media are not in business to promote you, and (with a few exceptions) they do not care that you have a new product or that you wrote a book. They care about what their audience cares about. What will they find interesting? What information do they need? What will cause them to watch the television show, listen to the radio interview or buy the newspaper or magazine? That is what you need to offer.
Make it visual. Television and Internet media are visual. Include photos or videos with your press release, or point media to your online press kit where they can access photos and in both high and low resolution, and videos showing you and your product in action.
Make your headline pop. The headline is the first thing they will see, so make it grab their attention. The job of the headline is to get them to read the first line of the release. (The job of the first line is to get them to read the second line.)
Don’t write “cute” headlines. Don’t use hype. Promise a benefit, state a surprising fact or ask a question. Be attention-getting without being salesy or promotional. Stick to facts.
Develop relationships with the media. People like to do business with people they know and like. The media are no different. They like to work with people they know. That includes people with whom they have worked in the past who have given them good stories. Always approach media from a position of what you can do for them (i.e., help them get a good story) not what you want them to do for you.
Social media makes it easier to reach out to media. Many journalists are on Twitter. Follow them and watch for opportunities to help them with stories they are working on. (That’s how I got a feature in the Houston Chronicle.) You can find journalists to follow on Twitter on http://muckrack.com/.
Start local, go global. It may be easier to break in to local media than large national media. Have a local angle and pitch to editors and producers with media in your town, or even your neighborhood. There are many community papers that may be interested in your story. Use your local publicity as a stepping stone to larger media.
Now that you know the basics of PR, you can start building media relationships and generating the publicity that will help you to attract customers and make yourself famous!