Posts

Press Releases – Swing ‘em Like a Hammer

I have to say it’s a pretty good feeling when a client gets splashed all over Canada’s largest newspaper, The Globe and MailMountain Trek was featured on the cover of the Globe’s travel section this month and the story resulted in a half dozen direct bookings (worth over $25,000) that they know about and incalculable interest for future visits.

 

This is how it all came together. Two years ago I was doing public relations for Mountain Trek, a wellness retreat and fitness lodge in south-central British Columbia, and we came up with a campaign that featured the phrase “Hike Your But Off” and the “but” was usually, “But I’ve never been hiking” or “But I can’t take time away from my family.”

The press releases (and overall campaign) garnered good reception and one of the key reasons it did so is because of a mantra I’ve shared with my clients again and again: “A press release is just a hammer; you gotta swing it!” So many times I hear from people who have used other public relations professionals and then complained that they didn’t get more coverage from a press release. The reasons are typically two-fold:

  1. the media personnel  weren’t targeted directly in a way that would interest them and/or
  2. the press release didn’t have enough reach/stamina

A press release is just a tool and you never know how far it’ll reach. For example, I just received an email from a writer who had received the release mentioned above two years ago and wanted to do a piece on the client now. The one thing you cancontrol is how interesting the media professional finds your release and subject matter. Having been involved in the media as a writer, editor and publisher for the past 20 years, I can confidently say I know what grabs a journalist’s interest.

Touch base with me anytime and together we can work out a strategy for  your next campaign and release.

5 Steps to a Perfect Press Release

For Immediate Release – In response to recent questions about how to write effective press releases, the staff at Wonow Media Ltd. in Nelson, BC, have decided to divulge five important secrets that will help any business produce material guaranteed to be read by publication editors.

“The word has gotten out that we write excellent press releases and so people have been asking what our secret is,” says Vince Hempsall, co-owner of Wonow Media. “My immediate response was, ‘Would you ask a surgeon how to perform a tonsillectomy at home?’ But then I realized that, as a magazine editor for the past 16 years, I know what my colleagues are looking for and it’s time to share some secrets.”

Wonow Media has created the “5 Steps to a Perfect Press Release” guide and it includes the following:

STEP #1: Making Contact. Collect the contact information of as many media people as possible and then send your press release to all of them. Even if you’re a small business in the arctic circle, don’t assume The Globe and Mail won’t be interested in your news because most editors are always looking for good stories outside of main city centers. Of course, there are thousands of publications in North America so you’ll want to get started now collecting their contact details…or hire Wonow Media because the company already has them all.

STEP #2: Lose the ego. Editors are not interested in helping you sell more product or lasso you more customers. They want stories that will be interesting to their readers. Which means your press release needs to present an objective view of your company’s exciting news. Stick to standard reporter prose and avoid “I” and “We” except in quotes.

STEP #3: Just the facts. As with all news articles, the lead (ie: first) paragraph of your press release should stick to the facts. Save the hype and the “sell, sell, sell” for your ads and provide the information that will not only catch an editor’s eye but will also sum up the entire point of the press release in 50 words or less.

STEP #4: Short and sweet. The perfect press release is one page. You could waste time writing more but take it from a busy editor, we won’t read anything beyond one page.

Step #5: Making Contact Part II. The last paragraph of a press release should always include the phrase: “For more information contact…” and list your phone number and e-mail address. Following that paragraph, there should appear four characters that will ensure an editor will take the press release seriously. Want to know what those characters are? Hire Wonow Media and find out.

For more information, contact Vince Hempsall at Wonow Media Ltd., 250-352-0921, info@wonowmedia [dot] com.