There is nothing magical about Public Relations. It just seems that way. Once you know a few tricks of the trade, you, too, will be able to attract the spotlight.
Create News. Journalists cannot possibly collect all the news they need to fill the space they have. They depend on PR professionals and people in the community for as much as 70% of the stories they report on a daily basis. Journalists appreciate your help as much as you appreciate the coverage they can give you.
Find A Hook. Journalists keep their writing clear and interesting by developing fresh angles for their stories. You need to learn to think like a journalist. Look at your facts. Is there some way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack? What do you do that nobody else does? Once you've figured this out, develop your story.
The Agatha Christie Twist. Mystery writers are always stumbling upon new facts. These new facts are often offered up with an interesting twist. This piques the reader's interest. It's not enough to know your facts. You must be prepared to present them in a new way that speaks to your intended audience.
Who, What When, Why, and Where. These are the questions you need to answer in your press release. Does your product or service have news value? Is there something about it that will be helpful or entertaining to an editors’ audience? Is your angle so unique that a national magazine might be interested?
Editors are always looking for a good story. Is yours of local or national interest? Once you answer this question you can go to the library and consult various professional directories o determine who the right contact people are at the publications you wish to target. I suggest the Bacon series. You’ll also be able to find out how various editors want material submitted there.
Your press release should be no more than three pages double spaced. Find the angle that works for the audience you want to target. Customize the release for different publications if the angle changes. Write concisely and to the point. What you are writing should appear to be news.
Form and Style. There are many good books to refer to for form and style. Buy one for reference or consult on at your local library. Use powerful headlines and sub-headlines to deliver your message. Use a reverse pyramid -- lead with your most important information. Maintain credibility and avoid puffery. Proofread to ensure correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Be concise. The best press releases get right to the point. If editors want more information, they will contact you. So make sure you have a contact person who is available to field media responses.
Reporters are Your Friends. Be their friends, too. Being a friend does not mean hounding them to do what you want them to do. It means understanding their needs and making an effort to help them with those needs while you address your own. It means being considerate of their deadlines and the demands on their time.
Get Editorial Calendars. Ever wonder how certain issues of a magazine or newspaper cover topics of special interest? Editors develop calendars months in advance that specify what will be dealt with when. Get copies of editorial calendars. This will put you in a better position to pitch reporters with well-timed stories. You'll be delighted with their responsiveness!
Build Relationships. Journalists are people. They have feelings. Respect theirs and they'll respect yours. Ask them for help if what you're doing is not working. They'll give you constructive suggestions. And when they've helped you on the road to success, let them know you appreciate their interest and assistance.
PR is a specialized field. It may take years to develop the contacts you need to get the publicity you want. If you don't have years, you may want to get professional help. Don't mind waiting? Then, stick with the suggestions above. A well-written press release in the hands of the right media can deliver incredible results.