Press and PR
Posted: 11th May 2015
Write a Press Release
As part of your marketing campaign, it is worth taking the time to prepare a press release to send to local or national newspapers, magazines, or television.
You need to grab the reader’s attention immediately, and ensure that they will read on. Have a snappy title “Baby Bath in Hot Water” then an explanatory sub title “Babies who spend less time in water have significantly increased intelligence – the new Baby Shower by ME helps parents and babies”.
Provide a choice of good pictures with details of what/who the picture is about. Send pictures of you, your product, product and customers, receiving awards etc and a logo.
- List the key points that make your business special/unique/successful then decide on your message or unique selling point and consistently put that across
- Start with most salient points and use correct wording and simple, direct language and watch your spelling!
- Think about what the media are looking for, they generally want a story, preferably one they haven’t heard before – can you make one up?
- Convince the journalist why they should feature you, what makes you different from any other jam maker
- Use a quote or testimonial from a customer or supplier
- All press releases should answer the journalist’s five basic questions of;
- WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHY? HOW?
- Follow the “style” of the publication, you can adapt one press release to many magazines/papers. Take the house angle for Better Homes, the rural aspect for Country Living, a chatty style for a weekly woman’s magazine, more serious for a newspaper, local for a county magazine etc.
- Sound confident, not pushy: never think you have a right to be featured
- Find out the relevant journalist’s name, and address your correspondence to this person, either by post, fax or e-mail but be prepared to follow up your press release with a phone call a couple of days later
· Don’t chase too much, one phone call is enough
- Re-contact the same journalists regularly, reminders for seasonal products Valentine’s day, Mother’s day, Christmas etc, new products, awards and other news
- Don’t forget to add all your contact details, you can also add notes at the end of the press release about yourself
- Tell the journalist again that pictures are attached and product is available for evaluation
- Use no more than 2 pages of A4 paper, and include a date at the top
- Use 1.5 line spacing – it is used throughout the industry and will make your article look more professional.
- Include a page number on each page but also say how many there are in total: Page 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 etc.
- Always put the title of your business in full the first time you use it in the text. Otherwise the journalist may not transfer it from the letterhead into the newspaper article.
- Use small paragraphs which will make your press release look more attractive to read. If the journalist doesn’t want to read it, they’ll never risk boring their punters with it.
- Don’t use italics for quotes – normal text is fine – it will help persuade them to put your piece in print.
Respond to interest
- Sound enthusiastic
- Get product out quickly to journalists for evaluation
- Be ready to fulfil orders from customers
- Don’t expect miracles: even a small mention on a shopping page or a reader’s offer can generate a huge response. It needn’t be a four-page feature.
- Look professional ie logo, stationery, packaging etc
- Make sure you have enough stock/time in case the response is very swift and positive
National newspapers and regional newspapers
- Monthly magazines – e.g. Country Living, Homes & Gardens
- Weekly magazines – e.g. The Week, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Best
- Specialist interest titles – e.g. Popular Patchwork, Practical Crafts, Beanbag World
- Business to Business titles – e.g. Child Education, The Grocer, Farmer’s Weekly, Independent Caterer
- Regional magazines – e.g. Cheshire/Yorkshire Life
- Terrestrial television – BBC 1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5
- Satellite television – Sky, Cable etc
- National Radio – e.g. Radio 4, Radio 2
- Regional Radio – e.g. Radio Shropshire, Radio Oxford
- Internet/websites – ivillage.co.uk, handbag.com, wireuk.org
Other routes to the press
Don’t forget relevant associations – e.g. Countryside Alliance, DEFRA, Food Standards Authority
Have a look at the website www.mediauk.com it lists all national and regional papers, magazines and broadcast media – build yourself a database using copy and paste then it’s easy to keep journalists updated.
Scour your local papers for stories which may link to your product/story “I read with interest your story about XYZ and thought you would be interested in …” find the right journalist and you’re halfway there.
How to do a good interview
Think of the key points you want to get across about your company, remember to exercise the five point rule
eg Muddy Puddles. They would like the story about her measuring round her kids to get a pattern for the clothes and the fact that she is a farmer’s wife turned businesswoman. She might want to mention the web-site, their award and their new range.
- Check what questions they might ask you
- Ask what the set-up will be if they haven’t made it clear:
For RADIO –
- Will it be a live or a pre-recorded interview?
- Do they want to come and interview you face to face at your home/business?
- Do they want to talk to you down the telephone line from your home/business?
- Or do they want you to go into a studio?
- If studio, will you actually be sitting with the interviewer or will you be on your own wearing headphones with the interviewer somewhere else?
For TV –
- Are they sending a crew out to interview you at your home/business or another location or are you going into a studio?
- Think about what to wear:
not horizontal lines or mad jazzy patterns
not distracting jewellery eg dangly earrings or noisy bangles
Many thanks to Zoe Davies at Country Living for her contribution to this article.