I often feel that getting publicity for your biz is a lot like dating. Or ‘courting’ as my Grandad used to say.
The people who do well at it know that you need to woo the journalist before, erm, jumping into bed with them. You need to get to know their likes and dislikes, find out about their interests. And then approach them in a way that makes them want to find out more about you.
All too often I see business owners skipping the ‘romancing’ stage, and instead of doing their research, finding out about the publication, and crafting a pitch that’s perfectly tailored to the individual journalist, they do the equivalent of WhatsApping 50 guys they don’t know saying ‘Marry Me!!’.
If you cobble together a press release talking about how great you are and then mass mail it to a load of journalists asking them to write about you, you are never going to find true love (where ‘true love’ = making a journalist fall in love with you so that they write lots of cool stuff about you and your biz).
Now, nobody likes rejection. And as far as dating is concerned, if the cute guy you like is failing to respond to your text messages, it could be for a whole host of reasons. But if you’re sending out press releases and not getting results, it’s probably because you’re making one of these mistakes:
1. You’re being boring
Hate to break it to you, but not everyone is going to find your business as thrilling as you do. Sending out a boring press release about something arbritary that’s not newsworthy won’t get a positive response from a journalist. Work on your story and make sure it’s timely and newsworthy
2. You’re chatting up the wrong person
You need to make sure that the person you’re contacting is going to be interested in what you have to say. Do you need to speak to a Features Editor, a Fashion Editor, a Parenting Editor or someone else? Think about where your story is going to fit in the publication, and contact the person who looks after that specific section.
3. You’re playing the field
Journalists don’t like to feel they’re just a part of a mass mailing exercise. Stop playing the field and pick one journalist to contact at a time. Send them a personalised email explaining why you think your story is perfect for them
4. You’re not making them feel special
Sending an email that starts with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ is not going to win you Brownie points. Do your research and use the journalist’s name when you get in touch
5. You’re not wooing them
Some people think that all they need to do is to whizz off a press release and then sit back and wait for the offers to start pouring in. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. You need to woo the journalist. Follow up with them with a friendly email, engage with them on, try and build a relationship with them
Bonus reason that nobody is reading your press release:
A press release is a tool for telling the press your news – it works particularly well if you’ve got something like a new launch, a book or an event to tell people about. But sometimes it’s not the right tool for the occasion. Often you’d be better off putting together a pitch to send to a journalist instead. So do your homework and decide if a press release is going to be the right tool for you to use.
Did you find this helpful? Are you going to start or continue sending out press releases? Comment below and let me know!
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