Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Want to do a bit of marketing for free? (Well, almost)

Some marketing activities can prove to be extremely costly and as a result, many companies are put off from conducting marketing, believing that they cannot afford to. There are however many activities that can be conducted for little or no money. All they cost is your time.

A Press Release is one such activity. This type of communication is less sales specific than other promotional methods as the focus is on a subject of public or business interest. Unlike traditional promotional methods, press releases are seen to come from an impartial source and therefore appear more credible.

Articles will usually be published at no cost, however stories must be of genuine interest to readers and be in no way obvious sales pieces. And, the likelihood of stories being published can depend very much on the relationship that exists with the editor of your targeted media.

Nevertheless, the pointers provided below offer some tips on how to go about writing and structuring articles to improve their chances of being featured:

  • Before you even start writing, research suitable press. This will give you an idea of the style of writing which would be suitable for the publication and whether the media is targeting those you wish to reach
  • While you are researching, also find the contact details of the appropriate editor. This might be found within the publication itself or from web sites and directories. Always mark your release for his or her attention
  • Start writing. Be creative, inventive, and most importantly - honest. And, remember that your story must be newsworthy and of genuine human, local or trade interest
  • Keep your article short and sweet. One side of A4 or around 200-300 words is about right
    Think of a short, catchy headline to get your news story noticed by the editor

  • Tell your story in the first paragraph. Make it short and then elaborate through the rest of the article
  • Include personal quotes, add your contact details (you might want to give your home number in addition as reporters often work to deadlines outside normal office hours) and include some eye-catching photographs to accompany the story
  • Finally, remember to give details of when you want the story to go public

Your story may not get printed the first time, but don’t get too downhearted. Ask for advice as to where your release fell short and how you can improve in the future. Keep trying.

The more frequently you are in contact with publications, the better a relationship you’ll build and the better the chance of your story being published. So, get writing!



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