GETTING FREE PUBLICITY is always a worthy goal, particularly for organizations, where marketing budgets are small. Organizations need to promote events, raise funds and build awareness at a time when traditional news outlets are shrinking. Getting the media to pay attention and publish your news is the goal.
A well-written news release can bring notice to your organization if sent to the right publication. It might even merit a look from the publication’s editorial staff, resulting in editorial gold—a feature article about your organization or event. Readers are more likely to contact you when they learn about you in a feature article than they would from paid advertising.
Here’s an example of how it works: An art photographer sent a news release about his first exhibit, in a cafe, to a hometown newspaper. The newspaper sent a reporter to review the show and interview the photographer, resulting in a photo spread and story about the show. The publicity gave the photographer an opportunity for a much larger show in a prestigious gallery, which then led to more successful shows.
Here are three tips on how to strike editorial gold with your news releases:
• Newsworthy News: Your press release must contain newsworthy information. For a new product, explain what is new and exactly why it’s better. To promote an event, don’t just say it’s extraordinary. Explain why it is a “must-see.”
• Do your homework. Who is the audience for this publication? For example, if your business builds swimming pools and spas, you probably wouldn’t send a press release to a publication for apartment dwellers.
• Write it like a news story. Be sure to include the “5 Ws”: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Then write the story as if you’re a news reporter, with no superlatives, opinions, or filler. If your story reads like a real news article, reporters will often file it as-is, and editors will publish it with no edits. Not having to re-write is editorial gold for them.