To get your information into the right hands, it starts with a press release. I have to admit, I don’t enjoy writing press releases. Of all the marketing tasks I do — newsletters, social media, blogs, video, and coaching, creating a press release for a client or event I’m working on gets put to the bottom of my “to do” list. It’s not that I can’t write one, it’s that I never know if I’m reaching the right source or merely sending the message into the abyss, hoping for it to stick against the wall.
This week I decided to brush up on my press release writing skills and attended a workshop called “Press Ready 101″, hosted by Easthampton City Arts. I especially wanted to go because it was led by a local journalist, Sarah Platanitis, Here was a chance to listen to what journalists want from us when pitching a story. Most of the attendees were artists, interested in getting better at the marketing and business side of their craft, some looking for local help, others aiming for national exposure.
Here are some of my takeaways:
- Publications work weeks, sometimes months in advance on copy. Send your press release out at least a month or more prior to an event and follow up in one month.
- Check editorial and advertising calendars of publications to make the most out of your pitch. Ask for this information and jot down special issues, etc. on your marketing calendar.
- Journalists and reporters are busy, always working on deadline. Make it easy for them to find your information and pictures by adding a “press room” or “media” page to your website. Include high resolution downloadable images (just in case your event could end up on the front page!) – 1-3MB/300 dpi is best.
- Get to know your local section editors who may be relevant to your business or event. Ask them how they’d like to receive information from you.
- If you’re lucky to be interviewed, understand the terms “on the record” and “off the record”. Be polite and always THANK your interviewer.
Self-promotion can feel uncomfortable and it’s sometimes helpful to work with someone who can help you manage the marketing and event planning details. Preparing in advance is key to a successful event, product launch or new service offering. So, here’s hoping to see you “above the fold” real soon!