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If you're seeking to promote yourself or your new business on a limited budget,
you probably cannot afford the benefit of hiring a public relations agency to
work on your behalf - at least not in the beginning.
You've probably spent considerable money to get to the point of your grand opening
or new product release, which could easily fail if nobody cares that you exist.
The cost of hiring a marketing professional is usually worth your money as what
you're ultimately purchasing is results. In theory if they don't deliver, you don't pay.
However, there are no guarantees. It is probably easier, less time consuming and
less stressful, to pay a professional to perform this work for you. But if you
don't have a lot of cash as you start out in business, you can still get people
and publications to notice you without spending a fortune to hire a public
If you've been down the solo road of self-promotion in the past and were not
satisified with the final results of your "PR" efforts, you are not alone.
Does the following scenario sound familiar to you?
You developed an innovative service or produced an incredible product. You did
your homework on how to write an effective press release. (And it sounded so easy...)
You followed the standard directions to compile your targetted media list and
distribute your announcement according to their preferred guidelines.
(And it seemed simple enough...)
You invested in some stamps, paid to use a public fax machine or formatted
your release for email submission. You finally got to the point of sending
it off to dozens of online and offline publications.
You relaxed for a few days, figuring you'd better store up some energy,
to field your anticipated flood of calls from editors anxious to interview
you to get more details about the exciting offer outlined in your press release.
A week, maybe two weeks, passed and you were still staring at your phone waiting
for it to ring...
You could wait another month or two for the sweet sound of some unknown editor's
voice to surprise you on the other end of the phone.
Chances are you'll continue to hear your mother or ex-husband talking when you
pick up the phone and won't that just do wonders for your hope and self-esteem?
If there is a positive aspect of this experience, it may be the knowledge that
you are not alone.
Regardless of how remarkable your new offer is or how perfect your press release is,
the results of your efforts to promote it to publications may not please you to say
Why didn't your press release produce the outcome you expected?
There's a few possible reasons and facts about publications, editors and press releases.
Most editors get hundreds of press releases every week. Seldom do they have the
time to read every single announcement.
Some press releases don't stand a chance of being read depending on the editor. If they
do not immediately recognize the contact name or the headline does not scream success
at them or if they're just having a bad day, your hard work hits the trash without
a second thought.
Sometimes your press release never even makes it to the correct editor. It may get
stuck in the fax machine or the mail room may accidentally deliver it to the
circulation department. It may be at the bottom of a stack of unrelated faxes or
letters and not see the editors desk for weeks, if at all.
What can you do to prevent this disappointing scenario from dampening your spirits
and detracting from your potential success?
1 - Follow up every press release submission with a phone call.
Do not settle for speaking to the receptionist or leaving a message on voice mail.
Do not talk to the sports reporter, who happens to answer the phone, if your press
release was intended for the features department. Keep calling until you reach the
2 - Contrary to popular belief, the editor may not be the best person for you to
promote your press release to. If you do not receive satisfaction by speaking to
the editor, consider other contact options, like reporters, interns, or an
3 - If you're sending your press release to publications that you read frequently,
you should be able to identify a few reporters, who write articles about the service
or product you're promoting. Ask to speak to one of those writers by name. Request
to be connected directly to a reporter's personal voice mail instead of the
editors' general mailbox.
4 - If you don't know the names of any reporters, ask to speak to the "business"
writer or the "features" copy-editor, based upon the type of product, service
or event you're promoting.
5 - Think of any contacts or friends of friends whose name you could repeat to
an editor or reporter as a familiar reference that may help to establish your
credibility. It can make a difference in some cases.
6 - Try to remember any previous events you attended where a reporter was present.
Even if you had a very brief encounter with him or her, it's worth mentioning.
Generally speaking, reporters see so many faces and meet so many people every
week that they probably will not be able to recall whether they were ever introduced
to you or not.
7 - Compliment the reporter on his outstanding coverage of the latest celebration
or in-depth series of articles about the best businesses of the year. Or schmooze
the editor with similar praise of his writers, front page design or choice of
The bottom line is simple. If you write a killer press release, slip it in the
mail to a slew of publications and wait for your phone to ring, you may wait forever.
Remember the goal of your press release.
Be able to tell the editor and/or reporter in 20 words or less why your press release is important.
Resource Box - © Danielle Hollister (2004)
Danielle Hollister is the Writing Editor at BellaOnline
and Publisher of the Free Ezine for Writers
|This article was submitted by - Danielle Hollister||Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends|
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