Now that you have established your marketing niche, it is time for you to tell your target audience what you are going to do for them. Your main public relations goal is to get the right messages to the right people. In other words, create a systematic plan that includes writing and distributing press releases.

A press release is a short summary of information containing news surrounding your company that is sent to writers or members of the media. The main parts of your strategy will need to include sending news announcements, or providing your expertise to help support the main topics in the industry. It is important to remember that the media is sent hundreds of e-mails everyday. Before you decide to produce a release, ask yourself if this information is timely and relevant enough to be considered newsworthy. (For example, if your company has just released a new product or service, it is a good time to send a press release.)

Keep the following in mind when you draft a news release:

  • Who? (Your company)
  • What? (What is the purpose?)
  • Why? (Why are you releasing the product or service?)
  • Where? (Where is it being release? Is it national or international?)
  • When? (When was/ will the product be released?)

Above all, keep releases short--equivalent to a page and a half of printed text. It is possible that your release will be posted verbatim. If your release is longer than a page, it is recommended that you provide a link at the bottom giving availability for more information. Also, it is imperative that you provide your e-mail address, cell phone, and physical address.

Converting to E-mail

Obviously, most journalists are online so it is likely that they will prefer to receive e-mailed press releases. However, it wouldn't hurt to ask them what medium they prefer to receive information.

If you write a release in Microsoft Word or other word processing software. Remember, when you cut and paste your information to your e-mail message that text e-mail only uses 60 characters per line.

The Basic Formula of a Press Release

Your goal is to communicate your message as clear as possible. It is best to follow a predictable formula so journalists can scan through the press release to find the information they need easily and instantly. Here is a typical outline of a press release: headline, date, lead, quotes, boilerplate, and availability.

  • Headline: A clear statement that leaves guesswork aside.
  • Date: Include the date on every press release.
  • Lead: A lead follows directly below the headline. It is the most
    important portion of the release because it answers all the who,
    what, how and why questions.
  • Quotes: Use quotes to move the story forward. They are best used as
    opinions and they also can make claims.
  • Boilerplate: A boilerplate is a short description of the company
    and what it does.
    Keep this part under two sentences.
  • Availability: Always include your contact information. If it is
    applicable, list the availability of your products, services,
    and prices.

DISTRIBUTING PRESS RELEASES

There are many sites that post press releases and then distribute them to your target audiences. Here are some press release distribution web sites: Internet Guide-www.internetprguide.com and www.businesswire.com.

In addition, you can send your press releases to discussion lists and newsletters. Many writers scour the Internet looking for sources. If they contact you, express an interest in building a networking relationship and offer to send news or information that interests them.

Important Rules to Follow

Before you send a news release to a writer or editor, it is good idea to send a short introduction of yourself. After you develop communication with a writer, get to the point as quickly as possible. Don't be afraid to be up front with them; they will appreciate your honesty and clarity. One way you can do this is to bullet or bold your main points. This breaks up the paragraph and makes it easier to read. More importantly, it save the editor time if you keep your press releases under a page or within a screen size.

Other Publicity Possibilities

Speak in public-This will reach a small but powerful group of
people. Interest goes along way in memoryability.

Give your opinion- Look through magazines, newspapers, and other
publications to see if you can offer an opinion, suggestion, or
insight in an editorial section.

Call a radio station-Maybe you could offer some of your
knowledge to a radio program and give away your URL, if and
when it is appropriate.

Write an article-A lot of places need content. What better way than to write an article with your info attached?

The Wrong Way

It is unfortunate to see so many communication agencies and PR departments waste time, money, and effort on activities that have little effect on the press or the consumers. One of the major causes of failure is a lack of communication between the management and PR people. If managers are stifled because the PR representatives failed to reflect their views and directions the managers as well as the publicists are culpable.

Remember that publicists have different mindsets and goals than most marketing professionals. It is important to clarify this because the response rate needs to be evaluated according to methodology they use. For example, a typical PR campaign is not likely add to the bottom line or retrieve results quickly. However, publicity campaigns make up for the lack of speed by providing greater memoryability per response rate. Unlike page requests and "hits" which come and go easily.

The Human Side

PR and marketing departments are distinctly different but equal. Obviously, PR is a division under the marketing umbrella, but it is critical to their company's public perception that they work closely together even though their roles are diffrent. The marketing department is at its best when they are analyzing and filling the needs of the consumer. While, the PR department most efficient at creating relationships with organizations.

If you are going to participate in publicity endeavors you need to do it with objectivity, class, and honesty. The Net is already over burdened with millions of information about products and services. It almost feels like the Net has gigantic PR manufacturing plant at the center of it that pumps out press releases by the busloads. With all the noise and distractions around us, produce and send press releases that are at least newsworthy or pay for advertising yourself.