The success of any PR campaign is based on multiple and complex factors. It’s hard to put your finger on what really works. It might be who you know, the timing, or just plain old luck. Even the most experienced agencies, armed with a war chest of contacts, don’t succeed every time.
Many small businesses have tried their hand at getting a slice of coverage. Often they are thrown in at the deep end, rising to the top gloomy and none the wiser as to why their attempt was unsuccessful. With our years of experience in the business, tracking what works and analysing the metrics, your campaign can be a success. We have created our favourite tactics to help your next campaign pack a punch and get the coverage you desire.
The Best Time
The day and time that your story lands on a journalist’s desk is a worrying point, and one that is hard for many to decide on. We’ve found that if you stick to a few golden rules, this won’t actually make that much of a difference to your success. After all, the world of publishing is now a round-the-clock operation. If you’ve followed our previous guides, you are likely to have a killer story.
If your story is focused around weekend readers, then it makes sense to liaise with journalists at the end of the work week to ensure relevant timing, so your story will be included in editorial planning and print cycles. These are a perfect example: “Weekend dieting makes you slimmer”, “Men binge on weekends”. In other words, don’t send it on a Monday morning!
Wednesdays, for example, are peak for online shopping. So news related to retail should be sent out in the middle of the week. Fridays are funny days. They can be used to bury bad company news since research has shown that people just don’t care. After all, the one thing on your mind is getting out the office and sinking that first pint.
If you’ve got breaking news, the timing won’t really make any difference, but as a general rule, the earlier, the better. As for actual timing, mornings are better for general stories. As the clock ticks closer to 5 pm, more journalists head home, and your news becomes yesterday’s.
Who needs the media?
With the rise of social platforms, anyone with a story to tell has the opportunity to reach a global audience with the click of a button. Get your blog on! Don’t place all your eggs in one basket by only targeting journalists. Your company blog can drive a high proportion of traffic and sales, over which you have total control.
The Early Plug
Unless you’re a multimillion pound household brand (and if you’re reading this, you’re probably not!) then plugging your company name right at the top of your press release is a big no-no! Advertising and PR is a very fine line. Keep your plug short and don’t overdo it.
Take a look at any newspaper you have handy. The majority of news stories have quotes from either a senior spokesperson or an industry expert, because that adds weight and increases value for the reader. Time and time again we see press releases with no quotes or with boilerplate monologues. Think of something interesting to say that will entertain readers. The more quotes, the easier it is for a journalist to pluck one out the text and drop it into the workflow.
Have you ever come across the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Nearly every single newspaper will include some form of picture along with the story, because it’s a great way to increase engagement. Avoid using stock photos and get your snap on! Ensure that the images you supply are print-ready with a DPI of no less than 300. If you’re sending your PR through email, don’t attach the images to the email, because it can clog the recipient’s inbox. DropBox is your friend.
So you’ve spent ages writing your press release, but is it actually newsworthy? And could you imagine yourself reading it in your local newspaper? If a specific publication such as the Daily Star is your target audience, then tailor your news to the style of news articles they currently write. Just pick up the paper and get to reading. This will probably mean creating several versions of the press release to match the required style.
If you think hard enough, a newsworthy angle can always be found to hook the journalist in. Try doing half the journalist’s job for him, and avoid the boring releases.
What proven tactics have worked for you? Tell us in the comments or drop us a Tweet @pressat