Entries Tagged 'PR' ↓
October 17th, 2012 — PR, Press releases
The following guest post was written by Vicky Fraser. The author’s views are entirely her own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.
Thousands of press releases land in the inboxes of journalists every day. Why on Earth should they bother properly reading, let alone publishing, yours?
The hard truth is that nobody is as interested in your business as you. If you want people to read about it, you need to give them something fascinating to read. But first, you need to generate press interest and spark a story idea for the journalists to whom you’re sending the release.
Not only do publications receive thousands of press releases, many of them are badly written, overlong and full of spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Others are stuffed full of meaningless marketing waffle and jargon, while others are just a thinly (or not so thinly) veiled advertorial. Still more are irrelevant to either the industry area covered by the publication, or the geographical area, or both.
Once your press release lands on the desk of a journalist or news editor, its fate is in their hands. However, there are a few things you can do to improve its chances of publication.
1. Keep it clear, short and simple
If a press release is longer than one page of A4, it will often get put straight in the bin. Make sure the headline grabs people’s attention but is descriptive of the content, and ensure the first paragraph summarises the press release succinctly and engagingly.
Don’t use marketing waffle, jargon or the hard sell. The purpose of a press release is to impart news, not sell a product. Tell a story and raise your business’s profile: that’s what it’s all about.
2. Think of your press release as a tool for the journalist
Remember two things about journalists: firstly, they are people too, and if your press release doesn’t interest them, they won’t publish it. Secondly, they are very busy. Budgets have been cut, staffing levels are lower than they’ve ever been, and they (local papers, certainly) genuinely find it difficult to source and write great stories.
With this in mind, be helpful! Make it as easy as possible for the journalist to publish your press release. The less they have to do to knock the release into shape, the more likely it is to get published.
If you don’t have much experience writing press releases, do a little research. Take a look at articles in newspapers and magazines, and try to emulate them. Include quotes from relevant people – journalists love this, because it saves them having to contact you themselves.
3. Send your press release to the right places
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. If your business is a technology firm and you’re talking about an award you won (for example), don’t send your press release to Horse and Hound or Ideal Home magazine.
Similarly, if your story is a local interest one, don’t send the press release to publications outside your geographical area. They won’t use it.
4. Send it to the right people
A little research goes a long way. When you’re building your distribution list, spend some time finding out which journalists to target. Many smaller publications will simply have a “news desk” email address, but others will have health reporters, technology reporters, political reporters, etc.
If your press release goes to the right person first time, it shows you’ve done your research as well as reducing the chances that it will get lost.
5. Check, check, and check again
As a sad indictment of today’s education standards, more and more press releases arrive full of spelling and grammar mistakes, and typos. They are very unlikely to be used and the business’s card is usually marked by the journalists receiving such releases.
The value of proofreading cannot be understated: get your press release checked before you send it anywhere. Check for spelling, grammar and general sense and interest.
Putting out great press releases will create goodwill with the journalists you’re targeting. If you get a reputation as a good PR, you will find that journalists start to come to you. A solid relationship with a reporter is like gold dust: difficult to stumble upon, but extremely valuable.
Don’t forget, too, that there is a multitude of online press release portals that you can use for distribution. There’s a lot of mileage in a good press release: it can be reused on blogs and website news sections, shared via social media, and linked to by customers and partners. So make it SEO-friendly too and let it work harder for you, your customers and the publication to which you’re submitting it.
Vicky Fraser is a freelance copywriter and marketeer based in Warwickshire. Being a science nerd undertaking a physics degree, she specialises in simplifying and clarifying scientific and technical copy but writes about all manner of things for a wide variety of clients. She blogs about science, freelancing and writing – amongst other things.
September 16th, 2011 — copywriter, freelance copywriter, marketing, PR, social media
As a freelance copywriter I spend a lot of time educating potential clients of the value of what I do.
Granted, some may already understand the added value I will bring to their company, but others have just been told they should use a copywriter without really understanding why.
A copywriter can obviously write great marketing copy, but they bring more than that to the table. Because they are not part of your company, they can see your products and services from your customers’ point of view.
That might not sound much, but what it means is that they can write benefits led copy that will resonate with your reader.
Where’s this going?
Well, the other day I came across a job advert. It was advertising a fairly junior position, looking for someone with the following skills:
- Social media
That is an awful lot of skills. My question is can someone really be an expert in all of these fields to make sure the company achieves the results it wants?
As a copywriter, I can certainly create eye-catching copy that sells. But as for being a PR guru, events expert or a social media expert..?
Granted, I use social media in my business – but I wouldn’t profess to be an expert at it. I dabble in PR for my own purposes – but I don’t have the connections or expertise required to call myself a PR guru. As for events, to be honest I’d be hopeless at that.
I can understand why businesses today want to find people who are able to perform multiple tasks. For a start, they only have one salary to pay rather than four.
But lumping together these very different skill sets into one role, in my opinion, devalues the professional copywriters, PR people, events and social media experts out there.
To master all of these disciplines takes time and experience.
They may think they are being rather canny creating such a complex and multidiscipline role, but in reality they are heading for a fall.
By not bringing in experts in each field (either on permanent contracts or on a freelance basis), the company is running the very real risk of not being represented well in any of the fields.
- Its copy won’t resonate with the reader or sell
- Its PR efforts are unlikely to generate the coverage they want or need
- Its events won’t shine
- Its social media activities won’t generate the buzz they’re looking for
Much of the problem stems from the company not understanding the value and importance of each of these fields.
Yes, we can all write, but writing copy that resonates with the reader, sells to them and with SEO in mind is a tall order.
As with PR, most people can put together a press release, but how many understand how to place it? How many people understand the nuances of getting a company in front of the people it wants to impress and attract?
Most of us dabble in Facebook and Twitter, but how many people understand how to engage with people, how to combine the power of the social media sphere (blogs, Facebook, Twitter and forums) to get the most out of it.
How many people could organise a truly stunning event?
When you look at it that way, you begin to understand the true value of each skill set.
Have your say
If you are a copywriter, PR, event organiser or social media person, what is your take on this?
Do you think it’s possible to find all these skills within one person?
Leave a comment below and let’s get a debate started.
August 12th, 2011 — marketing, networking, PR, Press releases, social media
What do you think of when you think PR?
- Air kissing
- Extremely expensive magazine/newspaper columns
- Glossy magazine adverts…
Believe it or not, PR doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact sometimes it won’t even touch it.
Being in the know
A lot of your PR can cost you virtually nothing. All you need it a bit of time to get to know people and build a few relationships.
Let’s look at press first. There’s bound to be an industry magazine you can contact or perhaps your networking group has a magazine or e-newsletter. Either way they are a great source of free PR.
Get in touch with the editor and find out what they’re looking for. If you have a great story (and we all love real life stories), pick up the phone and have a chat with them – tell them what you have to say. If they like it, write it down and send it in. But make sure it’s ready to go (without any typos etc) because if they can just cut, paste and print they are more likely to use it.
Getting in front of people is another great way to boost your exposure.
Whether it’s having a stand at an exhibition (yes that will have a cost attached to it), giving a talk at an event (that won’t), chairing a committee or attending events, you will gain great exposure and meet interesting and potentially useful people.
In other words, get out there and network.
Being bold online
You don’t have to be seen in the flesh to gain great PR.
Social networking is everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, not to mention all the online forums.
Get out there, start interacting and offering advice.
Of course you can also blog. Having a blog that concentrates on your expertise (I’m a copywriter and marketer so that’s what this blog is all about) enables you to write posts that help people and that will position yourself as an expert in your field.
Everything you do (within reason) can be used to further your PR.
If you do daft things for charity, publicise it.
If you’re launching a new look website, tell people
If you’ve moved premises, shout about it.
If you’re taking on new staff, tell the world.
Basically anything you do that is newsworthy can be turned into a press release.
So you see, PR doesn’t have to cost the earth. Virtually everything you do has an element of PR in it, you just have to learn how to leverage it.
What do you do to help your PR? Leave a comment below and share your best piece of free PR or any other PR tips you find that work for you.