Step 1: Getting started
The foundation of a great press release is understanding what the end result should be. Do you want to drive traffic? Get noticed in the media? Add credibility? Determine what you want your end result to be and work backwards from there. Make a note if you will need SEO help and plan on getting key words if needed.
Step 2: Write the release
Write your release in a standard format. Spend a few extra minutes making sure that your headers are engaging, exciting and include the name of the organization you are promoting.
Step 3: Media list
Oftentimes a client will provide the media list they want to target or you can create it yourself. Typically this list will contain 20-30 publications, including general publications by area or specific to industry or trade. Focus on the editor of the publication, rather than reporters; they will make story assignments as needed. Include both email and phone number; you will need both.
Step 4: Talking points
Create a short paragraph with talking points. Start with a great statistic or question—‘something that is current and of interest to the publication’s readership. You want the editor to be intrigued and dive into your release for more information. Email the editor your talking points and the press release, keeping in mind that great reporters only need the nuggets of a story.
Step 5: The spreadsheet
Most creative folks have a short attention span and lots of ideas running through their head. Start a spread sheet with your media list and include estimates of time required to complete the pitching (generally 15-30 minutes per publication). Also make note of when you are getting started and when you want to be completed, to stay on track.
Step 6: Pick up the phone
Start following up on those email pitches with phone calls. If this is not a good story, what is? What are these editors hungry for? Your goal is to get into 2 publications, but even more importantly, to start building relationships.
Step 7: Wire Distribution
Step 8: Report back
Complete your own search online 12-36 hours after your release goes live. Prepare a report that includes information like:
- The URL where it was found
- The publication (a logo always looks impressive)
- The advertising equivalent (i.e. if you press release takes up a full page in an on-line publication, what would that publication charge for a full page of advertising?)
Compile the report to get a clear picture of effectiveness and ROI!