How to Effectively Deliver a Press Release

This is a guest post by Leslie Bailey, a freelance writer in Indianapolis.

As a blogger and freelance writer, I receive dozens and dozens of press releases a week. About 98% of those are deleted…and that’s on a good day.

Despite what old-school public relations professionals might say, press releases are no longer the only way to get the attention of the media. Social media and modern marketing are far too strong of a driving force in this sector to ignore.

That’s not to say however, that press releases are a lost cause – if you handle them correctly.

Here are a few tips from my personal experience that will help you get the most out of your press release. Note: these tips may not apply in every situation; consider each case on an individual basis.

The easiest way to do this is by checking of the ‘Five Ws’ – Who, What, Where, When, W…and I don’t mean within the copy of your press release.

WHO

If you’re targeting a specific audience – what’s that? You’re just sending out mass emails? Let’s start over.

To get the most value out of a press release, consider reaching out to your subject in a personalized manner. No one wants to feel like they’re part of a cattle call. Unless a publicity email addresses me by name, I don’t read it.

Blogger, Madam, “Hi there” or my favorite yesterday, “Hi lovey!,” don’t count. Find out the person’s name and address them by such (be sure to spell it correctly!)

WHAT

What does the person who you’re contacting cover? If you are trying to pitch the latest and greatest diaper, you should probably note that I don’t have children and have never written anything related to babies. Look at media contact’s previous or recent work to see what topics they usually write about.

WHERE

Where are you sending this press release? Make sure it’s the subjects preferred method of communication. I’ve had people contact me through Facebook, Twitter, and other various platforms to ask for my email address. If they’d take a few minutes, they’d see it’s listed very clearly in several places.

WHEN

Timing is everything. If your media blast is concerning something Christmas related, it’s as effective to send it in July, as it would be to send it on Christmas Eve. As a blogger, I like a six-week lead but when it comes to print publications, the time varies. For a newspaper story, I need about four-weeks notice while something pointed for magazine, two and a half months. Each publication is different though so be sure to consider the timing of your release.

WHY

This is key not only within your content but also when considering your recipient. Why does this person care what you have to say? Referring back to the matter of ‘what’, a food writer isn’t going to care about the latest in fall fashions just as a fashion writer doesn’t care about the best place to create a Fantasy Sports Team.

IN CONCLUSION…

You’ll notice that all of these suggestions take TIME. Sure, you’re a busy person and you’re trying to get a message out to the greatest number of people possible but if you can’t take a moment to find out someone’s name, why do they want to spend hours covering your news? They won’t.

Do your research, make a friendly and personalized introduction and see how much further it takes you.

You can follow Leslie @Lesalina.

Big Data in a Small Shop

Four ways to react to client insights

So, if you have read any business journal, blog, or magazine in the last year you’ve heard ad-naseum about the power of Big Data. Combing through the digital exhaust that all consumers produce to better understand their preferences and habits can produce big dividends to big companies who have big data (notice the trend here?). But what if you are a small shop? You can’t pay MBAs and Quants to comb through your data to produce insights and most likely – you don’t have the mountains of data to pore through anyway. But, I’m here to say that Big Data is simply a way for a large company to feel like a small one. Your small business has the advantage!

Small Business, Big Data

Big Data is simply about responding to client behavior. It’s just that the huge companies have to hire those big guns to get down to knowing the client behavior before they respond to it. But your small business can gain that client knowledge without the technical know-how and the sterility that can come from a numbers-only approach like Target recently used to predict when their shoppers are pregnant.

So, ask what your clients think about you. Then be flexible, and most importantly, do something about what you hear! Here are four ways to how to ask clients what they would like more of:

  • Add comment boxes on order forms (both online and offline). If you’ve got the space, add some open ended prompts to get them writing. Be creative and write like a human because you are one (and so are your readers!).
  • Ask your best clients what it would take for them to leave you for your competition. That will show your their sensitivity points and give you some target areas to focus on.
  • Write thank you notes for business are simple and effective. Send a thank you note with a brief survey with plenty of open-ended questions and offer a thank you gift when they return it.
  • Engage with your clients via Twitter. This is a no-brainer to get with your most influential clients and just have a conversation with them on why they are your brand champions.

A company who views their client as a number has nothing on a small business owner who truly cares about his or her clients. There is no better way to show that you care than to heed their desires and innovate new products and services to meet their needs inside of the relationship they already have with your business.

This is a guest post by Jason Cobb. Contact Jason today to boost your brand and grow your sales via effective social and web marketing.

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