Getting the Most From Your Press Releases

Whether you self-published your book or are simply trying to further promote your book released from an established publisher, press releases are one way try to obtain media coverage for your book, book signing, speaking engagement or anything else that plugs your book. Here are seven key components that media expert Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases.com, suggests you need to have in place if you want to get results with press release marketing.

1. Commitment to long-term distribution.  Just one press release will almost never get the job done. Many journalists don’t really trust companies they don’t know much about, so you have to work on building familiarity with them. That’s where long-term distribution can help. By sending out press releases on a regular basis, you earn name recognition and increase your chances of getting coverage.

2. Knowledge of the journalists you’re targeting.  Too many companies take the scattershot approach to distributing their press releases. They send it out to every journalist for whom they can find contact info, regardless of whether or not that reporter is a good fit for the story. Before you send out your press release, you need to have a list of reporters who cover your industry.

3. An actual plan. Don’t make up your plan as you go along. Playing things by ear will get you nowhere fast. You need to come up with a sound PR strategy that includes goals, plans for reaching the goals, and standards for measuring your results. Every press release you write should be designed to help you get closer to reaching your goals.

4. Knack for finding newsworthy angles.  One of the most common complaints I hear is “Our company doesn’t have any news to write about!” Almost always, this is wrong. There’s always a story, you just have to know where to find it

5. Strong headlines that suck readers in.  The headline of your press release usually makes or breaks the deal. A weak headline will land your press release in the trash; a strong one could catch the eye of a busy reporter.

6. No distribution on free websites.  Free press release distribution isn’t really free. Finding the right directories and uploading your press release on each of them takes several hours. I’m from the “time is money” school of thought, so I hardly consider this a free form of press release distribution. What’s worse is these sites just don’t work. Your press release won’t get sent to reporters; instead, it just sits on a low-ranking directory with thousands of other press releases.

7. Follow up skills.  Reporters are a busy bunch. So, even if your press release is truly great, they may wind up looking at it and forgetting about it. That’s why you need to know how to follow up. This helps you remind the reporter about your story, establishing rapport and keeping your company on the reporter’s mind.

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