Free-media promotion is one of the great marketing opportunities in business. When successful, free-media exposure can give your product a tremendous amount of exposure and credibility - a combination hard to come by with traditional advertising. Best of all, free-media tactics can be very affordable if done efficiently and wisely.
The first step in a free-media campaign is getting the press to read your media packet. This can be the toughest task of the whole process. Reporters and editors receive volumes PR materials each day; too busy to fuss, they throw most of it out without even opening the package. In this way, the millions of dollars that go into contacting the press each year usually end up in the trash.
How do you get the press to read your packet? The following are some tips gained from my years as a reporter and marketing professional. They give you the perspective from the press. By playing their game, you increase your odds of landing your poduct in the paper or on TV - not in the dumpster outside the newsroom.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AND DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM
You'll drastically increase your odds of getting through to the press if you develop a relationship with them first. Give your targeted media outlets a call or two before sending them your packet. Talk them up, learn their names, their beat. Like any professional, reporters are most likely to work with those they know, trust and like.
But before you make that call, make sure you know the media outlet. What's the newspaper's target demographic? Does the magazine have a conservative, centrist, or liberal bent? What stories do they cover? Do they have a large or small staff? What are the stories they've run over the past year? By knowing the answers to these questions before you call, you'll be able to convince the editor why a story on your product fits in with their editorial mission. This is key to getting your story read.
USE CORRECT GRAMMAR AND KEEP YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT
Print journalists and editors are sticklers for grammar. Make sure your press packet is letter perfect - no misplaced commas, spelling mistakes, or other careless and unprofessional errors. And make sure your facts are straight, because if they're not the media is sure to find out. Using correct grammar and straight facts tells the media that you are the type of company that will make their job easier.