You can get free publicity when you send a press release to a reporter – if you do the right things. But many people get bad results because they do the wrong things – or if they have unimaginably high expectations.
Here are 10 things to expect from a press release – from bad to good:
1. Reporters will throw it out – unopened and unseen. That’s because reporters get hundreds of press releases a day – by mail and by email. They don’t have time to read them all. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. You must make your press release stand out.
2. Reporters will open your press release and realize it does not concern them in the least and throw it out. That’s because you didn’t do your job and send the press release to only reporters in your field.
3. Reporters will open your press release, read the headline, read the first paragraph and throw it out. That’s because you didn’t say anything interesting or your information was presented badly. Think of your message and find a way to get the point across clearly and quickly. Who, what, when, where and why are usually good guideposts.
4. Reporters will read it but can’t find how to contact you – so they throw it out. Don’t put in switchboard numbers that do more to thwart callers than help them. Call yourself and see if you can reach you. If you have a voice jail system, I’ll bet you can’t. Put in your desk number or your mobile number.
5. Reporters will want to find more info, but can’t because you didn’t put in a website address or you sent people to the wrong page. Reporters might want to see your homepage, or your product page. Think this through and send them to the right page. If you have big company website, reporters might not find what they need. If you are promoting a book or a product, send them to that specific page with the relevant information.
6. Reporters like what they see and write the story based on info in the press release! Congratulations! You can get a story written about you without talking to a reporter, in case you didn’t know.
7. Reporters like what they see and get more info from you in a phone call or email. Congratulations! Now you have the chance to build a lasting relationship.
8. Reporters write the story and it appears on their websites or in their publications. Congratulations! You will probably get more website visitors, traffic to your store or calls to your company. Remember, those are visits. It is up to you to convince those people to buy. Don’t overlook this important step. Publicity can lead a horse to water, but it can’t make him drink.
9. Reporters post the story online. Congratulations. Many media sites allow for reader feedback. Read this section to see what people are saying and thinking – and then respond when appropriate. This can be a great way to build relationships with readers.
10. Your site’s rankings in search engines should improve. Congratulations! Google loves to see links from high credibility sites, like the media, to your site. If you can get more media exposure, you’ll probably rate higher in Google’s eyes so more prospects will see your website.
As you can see, there are many good things that can happen when you write press releases, target the right reporters, present the right message and follow up with prospects. Good things can happen with press releases – if you follow the right path.