Whether you send press releases or not, you more than likely read them every day. They have been, and continue to be a key news source, and are one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a mass audience.
As a publisher, we receive 100’s each and every week, without fail and it takes an incredible effort to keep on top them.
In this post, I go through a few of the problems we experience, and some suggestions for those of you who are considering to send PR, or even to those who are regular senders.
First things first
I’ll cut straight to the point here. If you are going to send PR, or already do so, select a few carefully chosen medias, and be prepared to have a budget. Shock, horror! Yes, most medias now charge to promote PR - I can imagine there will be a few moans and groans at this point.
The truth of the matter is, is that it costs medias time, effort, resources and MONEY, to promote your PR, why on earth should this be done for free? Especially when 99% of those who send PR do not advertise, or offer very little in support for medias.
It costs money to print a magazine - paper and postage costs have gone up in recent times, yet advertising rates have gone down, which means that circulation figures have been reduced significantly. (And in some cases, plonking a couple of thousand at an exhibition counts for circulation - I’Il let you be the judge of that!)
It also takes time, effort and money to maintain a website & digital services too.
And on that point, I would like to share an interesting experience I have had recently:
I am currently in the process of launching an app project, and in the build up to launch I approached 40-50 small bloggers, specifically that were hobby blogs, rather than full-time blogs, asking if I could write a UNIQUE and non-salesy guest post, and then pay to promote it out of my own pocket, in exchange for them uploading it for free.
Every blog, without exception, charged for guest posts!
Even though it was unique, non-salesy and I would send a ton of traffic to their sites, they would not budge. One even commented “So you want to pay me in traffic, I don’t think so!”
And these were just part-time blogs. They weren’t media companies with overheads and salaries to pay!
So imagine how publishers feel when you cc your latest PR to every media company, and then reply with ‘no budget’
Companies that have a ‘no PR budget policy’ are still living in the dark ages and I’m pretty sure have very limited outreach through reputable medias.
Some have the opinion that it’s our duty to add news for free - It’s almost like eating a meal in a restaurant and refusing to pay because it’s a restaurants duty to provide food and you have a ‘I don’t pay for food’ policy.
No PR policy? Fine, so cough up with an advertising policy instead 🙂
OK, so I think I’ve made my point here!
But what if you really have no budget?
If budget really is a problem, or if you want a discount, why not offer something in return? E.g. A mention in your next E-newsletter, or a guest post on your blog.
This is of course very important. Magazines need to have a balanced approach with a good mixture of editorial, advertorial and advertising to keep it interesting for the reader - who are without question the most important part to any media business.
Sensible advertisers base their marketing decisions on the quality and relevance of an editorial schedule, which is completely understandable - you can see very quickly if the topics match your customer profile.
However, what I do not agree with is ad-hoc advertising/PR promotion based on individual magazine issues.
Magazines go to the same readers each issue, and if you know the magazine matches your customer profile why should the individual issue editorial lineup really matter?
Surely it’s better to be consistent and have a regular presence to an audience so that you can start to build trust and a relationship with them. They can see how you are progressing, and learn more about your company and its values each issue, which goes a long way in helping to make important buying decisions.
Consistency is key
How to send your PR
Before sending, find out who the editor is. It takes a minute to pick up a phone and call, or look on a website.
Subject line: Usually the title of the PR is fine.
Intro: A short 50 word intro about what the PR is about is very useful. E.g. A summary of what the product is and its main application areas.
Best format: For me the best format is to simply embed it in the email and attach high-resolution images separately. It’s then very easy for editors to save and add to a website.
A word doc is OK but DO NOT embed the images, or if you do, attach separately, and please do not use Text Boxes!!!
And the worst possible format you can send in is a PDF. This is just a pain in the whatsit to re-edit. Generally our editor ignores PDF’s as they are too time consuming to work with.
Preferably include contact information for reader enquiries and ALSO marketing enquiries - e.g. who can publishers contact with regards to Advertorial offers.
Don’t want to include your contact details, then fine - it will be deleted without reading.
DO NOT DO THIS
I shalt mention any names, however there are some agencies, who when sending a PR add a lovely message after the intro that reads;
“Upon inclusion please send voucher copies to the address below”
This is a great way to p**s off any editor. Assuming is never good.
This is an interesting one. If you are looking for web-only promotion, the length is not an issue.
However, for magazine inclusion, length has to be considered, as, yup you guessed it, it costs money! Sometimes it’s useful to provide two versions - one for web and an edited version for advertorial.
As a general rule, I would say for magazine inclusion around 250 words is plenty.
Images are almost as important as the copy itself. Be sure to take quality photos, or at the very least ‘a’ photo! Read my other blog post about the importance of images with PR.
Make sure they are 300dpi. There are two quick ways to do this:
On a PC, right click > properties > details tab, and then under images you have the resolution quality
On a Mac, open in preview > tools > adjust size, and then DPI is just below
Quick tip: If your image is below 300dpi, you cannot increase it, unless you have the original.
Please remember to name the image file as something relevant - this small detail really helps!
Also remember to provide captions with all images.
Cut out the crap
There is a lot of waffle in some of the PR we receive. Like you, engineers/readers are busy, so quote after quote may improve an ego, but most of the time they are unnecessary.
Try to keep each point short and factual, which also helps improve readability.
Problems and solutions are naturally a good way to look at writing a PR
From my experience analysing articles on the website, longer more detailed, technical articles, always create greater engagement.
PR will remain a popular and necessary route to market for companies of all sizes, and Trade Medias are an important vehicle in which to promote it through.
We of course understand there are now an influx of journals available, some that focus on quality and reader value, and others that are just ad-catchers for the gullible, which means PR budgets are as stretched as ever, making the decision process all the more important.
The aim of this article was to give you an insight into the world of a publisher and some tips for helping us out a bit, with some important food for thought to consider.
There are a few other considerations for when sending PR, and we have written a free eBook about these.
So whether you are looking to start your first campaign, or a season pro, I welcome your feedback, questions and comments - let me know below!