Get your MEDIA RELEASE to the right person in a timely fashion for a better chance of response
Most self-publishing authors have limited budgets when it comes to marketing and public relations. If you have to choose between spending your dollars on advertising vs. spending them on public relations, PR will get you more bang for your buck every time. The job of a PR firm is to get you face time in the media, whether in the form of an article in the local paper or a spot on a national news program.
QUESTION: Do you have to hire a PR firm to get your media release noticed?
ANSWER: It’s a good idea — but it’s not always necessary.
It is possible to have your story picked up from a media release you write yourself. A well written media release, put in front of the right editor or news programmer at the right time, can generate a story — regardless of whether you hire a PR person to write it for you, or you write it yourself.
Tips for Crafting a Successful Media Release
(1) Use the term “media release” instead of “press release.” There are many forms of media now — “press” is passé, and some editors are touchy about the term.
(2) Understand that you a media release is addressed to the editor or reporter; do not make the mistake of “writing to” your target audience. Your only goal is to generate enough interest so that a reporter will call you for more information.
(3) When they decide your release merits a story, the story will be directed to your audience.
(4) Write in third person, even if you’re writing about yourself.
(5) Use a quotation from someone connected to your event, award, promotion, even if it’s your own quote.
(6) Keep it short — 300 to 500 words MAX.
(7) Use appropriate style — generally Associated Press style — for your release. If you will be doing a lot of releases, it probably is worth it to invest in a copy of the AP Stylebook.
(8) Many larger publications and news outlets prefer you to include a “Fact Sheet” with your release. This is a bulleted list that contains ALL the details of the information in your release.
- Company name: Moondanz Creative
- Founded: 2002
- Owner/Operator: Laura Orsini
- City of operation: Phoenix
- Contact info: Laura@1001rlqfw.com
or (602) 518-5376
- Name of event: Book signing for 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women
- Date of event: October 1, 2011
- Location of event: Changing Hands Bookstore
- Description of event: Author discussion and book signing
- Open to the public? Yes
- Admission: Free
(9) Find out how the media outlet you’re approaching prefers to receive their releases: in the body of e-mail, as e-mail attachments, or via fax.
(10) If you do send an e-mail, be specific in your Subject Line — perhaps use the headline from your release.
(11) Get it to the proper editor or producer (i.e., don’t send an item about your book, Crafty Cat Lady, to the sports editor).
(12) Allow enough lead time (generally 2 to 4 weeks — but it’s up to you to research this for the particular media outlet you’re contacting).
(13) Do NOT call to “check whether they got your release.” This is almost guaranteed to get your release tossed in the trash. If you want to “pitch” your story to the reporter in person, call ahead to speak to them, and then send the release immediately after speaking with them.
(14) You may, however, call back to “add” further details to your release. All you’ve actually done is hold back some bit of important info from the original release, but when you call, you present it as though it is an added “development.” IF the added info is important enough, and IF you handle it correctly, this can move your release to the top of the pile, or you may be asked to re-send it.
(15) Don’t get discouraged if your story is not picked up on your first try — but keep on trying! There are so many media outlets, and they all need copy! You can provide that with a well-written release about something newsworthy.
(16) Try online sites like PR Web , PR News Wire, and Prudent Press Agency. These are Internet sites for posting media releases that generate great visibility. They have fabulous rankings on the major search engines!
(17) This one seems like it should go without saying — but whenever we say that, it’s because it unfortunately does not go without saying: MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO, that it is correct, and easy to locate on your release.
(18) Make sure the contact person on your media release is available to talk with the media ― and not on a trek through Nepal at the time you send the release.
(19) Hire a pro to help you craft the perfect media release.
Check back Thursday when we’ll talk about building and stocking your media room. Remember, you don’t need to hire a PR firm to make an impact – you just need to create professional documents and then have the willingness and determination to send them out!
Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!
Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.
Thursday, September 8 – A dynamic MEDIA KIT can help you land those coveted interviews
Monday, September 5 – Traditional Labor Day celebrations offer tips for Savvy Book Marketers
Thursday, September 1 – A noteworthy statistic, a question, or both can be the hook that lures a reporter’s attention