As a professional marketer, I am always talking to small businesses and non-profits about their press release efforts and what works. The conversations start with, “We tried press releases, but it didn’t generate anything, so we stopped doing it.” Or “Mary was in charge of that, but then she left and we haven’t had anyone take that over.” Or “Press Releases? I know we should do something, but…” Does this sound familiar?
Before you can write a press release for media exposure, do one simple thing: create a media list.
Components of your Media Contact List:
- Write a list of industry media: Think trade magazines, associations, blogs. If you don’t know who to contact, look at the Contact Us area of a website. Don’t forget to utilize the account managers who contact you for advertising; ask them for the best people to contact to get your news published.
- Write a list of business media: Think local business newspapers, like the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Twin Cities Business, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Linked In Groups and more
- Write a list of local media: Think of local newspapers, your regional newspaper, local and regional radio and tv stations.
- Write a list of vendors, partners and customers: Think of vendors, partners and key customers, the ones who have helped you get established and grow. It’s very important to get information to the right people. These businesses have a vested interest in your success and may pass along your story.
Now that you have your media list of contacts, write the press release for publication. Remember your press release competes for space with others and your story must fit the publishers’ criteria of newsworthy. If you want to tell the world how well your business is doing, focus on a particular sales target or some other milestone. A special achievement such as winning an award is an ideal press release story. If you provide ready to publish stories, journalists are likely to use it. Fixing grammar/spelling mistakes or doing additional research, lessens the story’s appeal to the journalist.
Before you submit your press release via email, make sure your media list is placed in the Blind Carbon Copy area of your email, not the in the To section. This is so your contacts can’t see who is getting the email, which is especially important if there are multiple media list contacts who may be competitors within the industry. Some people you can email, others you will have to submit via a form on their website.
Here’s how some local organizations got additional press mileage out of their press releases.
- A rural hospital announced the redesign of their new website via press release. A national healthcare publication picked up the story. That national recognition in turn boosted the credibility of the institution to local patients.
- A local business recently submitted a press release about the growth of their organization and that release caught the attention of business magazine editors, which lead to a spotlight interview with the company’s senior staff.
- A local business submitted a press release about a company milestone. This lead to an interview with the company president and peer exposure. That exposure lead to an industry person of the year.
How have press releases helped your organization get exposure? A good professional press release distributed to an appropriate media list can help journalists know about your organization. The press release can be the base of a great story that can lead your organization to sales growth. Get that media contact list assembled and try submitting a press release. Do you have an interesting press release story to share?