One of the most important yet most challenging tasks of any public relations professional is gaining media attention. Hours upon hours are spent writing persuasive press releases to be disseminated to a wide variety of media outlets in the hopes that they’ll find the content interesting enough to want to learn more.
At Midas PR, we don’t use conventional press releases to secure media coverage for our clients, and we haven’t for over eight years.
We realized early on the agony of waiting for responses from media and knew there were other ways to get the publicity that we guarantee. So we made it easier on journalists and talk show hosts to use our content and book our clients as guests.
Our team began writing newsworthy articles in a ready-to-publish format and we developed TV spots that were produced on paper, telling news outlets all they needed to know to take the next step to produce the story.
And guess what – it worked!
We’ve always been on the cutting edge of developing creative solutions to get our client’s message out where it needs to be. We saw how other firms were putting all of their eggs in one basket – relying solely on traditional press releases. It wasn’t working.
More and more marketers have realized that standard press releases – a generalized announcement that the sender hopes will catch the interest of the appropriate media – just doesn’t work anymore.
Why is this?
1. Newspaper, magazine, TV and talk radio staffs just don’t have the manpower they used to. The number of newspaper journalists alone has dropped more than 30 percent since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. This creates a lot more competition in the world of PR. There are fewer ears to listen to your message and those ears don’t like to waste their time. So you have to stand out.
2. Everything is online. While that doesn’t diminish the credibility and large audiences of newspapers, TV it does change our relationship with them. People want the information and they want it fast. With the Internet, there are millions of stories to be read and told at any given time. Therefore, journalists are more interested in broadcasting the interesting stories versus the company milestone, new product or change in personnel. So again, you have to stand out.
What you can do to stand out
Analyze what you’re offering in your release. Does your new product solve a problem that many people share? Can it resonate with them emotionally? Start with a strong lead that will tell your reader why this will appeal to a large number of people.
Share the wealth. If your company or someone on your team is celebrating an award, share the story of your success. What steps did you take to get where you are? What lessons did you learn? How will you continue to improve?
Start with the subject line. A journalist’s email inbox is constantly flooded with messages that they cannot keep up with. This will lead them to discard messages without even opening them. So catch them quick with a unique, catchy subject line.
Know your audience. Do your homework to find out whom you’re pitching your story to. If you’re pitching a fishing magazine about a fashion show – you’re missing your target. Send your message to the big, traditional outlets but also research the niche media outlets that will appreciate your message and have a following of readers or viewers that could be interested.
Make it interesting. Again, don’t just include the “what happened,” include the “why.” Appeal to your reader’s emotions and provide reasons why a large number of people should care. For instance, if your company is celebrating a big milestone, offer insights into how the industry adapted to changes over that time and how that has benefitted consumers. You can also give predictions for future trends and explain how your company will continue to adapt.
If you’ve been sending out press releases with no responses – start giving the media what they want – important, concise information shared in a way they can easily use. Once you establish yourself as a credible, cut-the-crap source of news, journalists will start paying attention to what you have to say.
Remember, great P.R. doesn’t stand for “press release” but rather “public relations” – so pay attention to developing and maintaining those relations!