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Newsletter #6.09: The “Getting Press” Issue

Getting covered in traditional media doesn’t have to be so hard. 

   1> Ask for it
   2> Put a package together
   3> Pitch your client instead
   4> Go local
   5> Use web-ready press releases
   6> Write it yourself

1> Ask for it

Reporters need stuff to write about.  Every single day.  While you’re wracking your brain for a PR stunt, they just need a story for tomorrow’s issue.  Simply call them up and introduce yourself.  (This is how I get 90% of my press. Guest columns, too.)

2> Put a package together

Whatever you’re pitching probably isn’t enough for a full story.  A good reporter needs multiple sources, examples, a few quotes, and maybe some statistics.  Put an entire package together with your story, objective data, and phone numbers of other people ready to be interviewed on the same topic. 

3> Pitch your client instead

Vendors, here’s the truth:  No one really cares about your new product.  It’s not news, never will be.  A client case study is much more interesting.  So tell your client’s story, back it up with data, and the reporter will give you good credit.  And the client will be thrilled.

4> Go local

Reach out to local reporters and stringers for the wire services.  They aren’t overloaded with pitches like the national reporters are.  They are easier to reach, they love the attention, and they appreciate a scoop.  Best of all, these local stories get picked up by the wire services and get reprinted in tons of papers.  It’s easier to get an AP story by working with a reporter in Iowa City than New York City.

5> Use web-ready press releases

Sometimes the purpose of a press release isn’t to get one big story.  Instead, try shooting for tons of links in search engines and blogs.  Put together a release with bulleted lists of facts, photos, links –basically, create a cut-and-paste toolkit for anyone interested in the topic.  When you put it out there with one of the press release distribution services, it shows up on search engines, new sites, and tons of blogs. Instant success, and any actual stories that come out of it, are a bonus.

6> Write it yourself

Here’s what makes a great press release:  A reporter could paste it right into the next issue without changing a word.  It should be written like a news story, not a marketing brochure.  Keep trying until you pass this test.  The best part: When you do this well an amazing number of small publications will just paste in your story as you wrote it.

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Comments

  1. MarketingBlurb October 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    How to Generate Your Own Publicity

    I love Andy Sernovitzs blog (Damn! I Wish Id Thought of That!), and I have to give him props for a post he published about generating your own PR this past week. In his post, Andy describes six steps to…

  2. Adam Stokke March 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    This appears to be great advice.
    I am currently working with a very small creative group that has designed an innovative new marketing platform that potentially is poised to take off in a big way, but is constrained publicity-wise due to a very small budget and lack of dedicated PR staff.
    So clearly your simple steps to get the ball rolling on garnering press hit home. We’ll be putting them into practice, and I’d like to let you and your readers know how our efforts work out. Thanks for the tips, Andy.

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