Step 1 – determine your target.
Make a list of all the publications in your target market area. Look at newspapers, trade magazines, local newsletters etc. If you are interested in broadcast, also list local radio stations and television channels.
Step 2 – develop a database of contacts.
Find out who the best person within each media is for your story, it may be there are several people who could take it with a different angle. Make sure your story or news is appropriate for the person you are sending it to.
Step 3 – decide what you are going to communicate.
Think about what you can talk about – is it an announcement, an opinion, breaking news or a good news story? Is it newsworthy? You can plan stories in advance for 12 months to ensure you have something each month to use (these can change if more topical items appear).
Step 4 – write the press release.
Try to keep it to a page and speak their language. Include a photo if you can and open with who, what, when, where, why and how. Follow with some background information and a quote from the right person in your organisation. Include editors notes for any additional information with links they might find useful. Dont’ forget your contact details for those journalists who want further information. If your material is time-sensitive, remember to include an embargo date at the top.
Step 5 – distribute your press release to your contacts database.
Most editors and reporters these days prefer email submissions but do check because you still have some who prefer posted press releases. Make sure you have spelt names correctly and have attached everything you need.
Step 6 – decide if your press release can be used for anything else.
Can it be used on your website, in your newsletter or can it be linked to blogs who share a common interest with you? You can also adapt for direct mail to your prospects and/or customers. You’ve put the work in to develop the material so think how else it can be used.
Step 7 – work on developing your relationships with editors, reporters and producers.
The better your relationship is with various publications, the more likely you will get favourable press coverage. In addition, if an editor wants a quote or article in your specialist area, they know exactly where to come – especially if you have shown you can deliver ready-to-print copy in a timely manner in the past.
Spending just a little time each day on one of these areas will make you competent in your own PR. Of course the appeal of this type of PR is that it costs you nothing and broadens your skills and develops your imagination, but you could also hire an agency to do this for you and work alongside them to create a more high-impact campaign.
If you would like help or information on developing your own PR strategy, please get in touch.