Top 7 Steps for Running a Successful News Release Program
By Claire Cunningham
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Marketing public relations gives you cost effective ways to reach your audience. The trade-off, however, is time. It takes time to develop and execute public relations programs. It can take time for these programs to yield rewards.
Here are seven simple steps for developing a news release program that extends your reach and generates inquiries at a fraction of the cost of advertising.
- DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE.
If you have a marketing or communications plan in place, you already have audiences defined. No need to reinvent for your news release program, although you may need to select audiences that are most appropriate.
- BUILD A LIST.
Once you know your audience, you’ll need a list of publications they’re likely to read. Make it broad. With a news release program you can send releases to many more publications than you can afford to advertise in. Sending a release just entails paper, printing, a photo, an envelope and a stamp.
- IDENTIFY MESSAGES
What do you want prospective buyers to think about your company? Publicity can influence attitudes, so build your news release program around a few central messages.
- DETERMINE NEWSWORTHY TOPICS.
This is a tricky but critical step. You’ll need to think like a member of your target audience. What’s going to interest him or her? Usually it’s new stuff -- products, services, applications, literature, software. If you don’t have these to write about, your news releases might not get past the editors’ trash can.
- INCLUDE A PHOTO.
Publications can be hungry for visuals so send one with your release – a photo, illustration, chart or graph. In most cases a 3” x 5” glossy B&W print and a color slide will work. Be sure to send good quality visuals since the quality will reflect on you.
- SET A SCHEDULE – AND STICK TO IT.
Sending releases regularly lets editors know you’re reliable. If you have six topics for the year, send out a release every other month. Twelve topics – one a month. General rule for monthly publications is one release per editor per montth.
- MEASURE RESULTS AND LEARN.
It takes about three months before your releases will show up in monthly publications. Less time for pubs that come out more often.
Track what runs, where it runs, how much space you get and inquiries generated. You can use this information to measure results and improve your program.
About the author
Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claires monthly newsletter, Communiqué, at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Article Submitted On: January 26, 2005