An Entrepreneur’s Guide: 5 Tips for Successful Trade Press Coverage and Public Relations

While most emerging businesses suffer from tight cash problems, that shouldn€™t prevent you from gaining favorable press coverage, public relations or social media awareness, especially as you get ready to roll out a new product or service.

Obviously, there are many benefits to hiring professionals to help you develop effective PR, social media and traditional marketing campaigns; however, if you lack cash, you don€™t have to choose between hiring an outside firm or doing nothing at all. Instead, do some of the work yourself. By following a few useful tips, you can go a long way toward gaining the valuable visibility you€™ll need to be successful.

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Public Relations Research | The Right and Wrong Way to Contact an Editor
Every industry has it€™s own set of publications with online portals and chances are, you€™re already familiar with most of the ones in your marketplace. Start by checking publication web sites for reporters€™ names and their responsibilities. Make sure you will be contacting the right person. By doing this simple, preliminary task, you avoid unnecessary phone calls, delays, and confusion. If you do call, DO NOT leave lengthy messages. Editors hate them. And NEVER have inexperienced or unknowledgeable personnel contact editors. There is no better way to alienate an editor than to waste his or her time with an earnest young employee reading from a prepared script about the company€™s €œrevolutionary€ new product or €œleading edge€ application. These hapless individuals €“ often marketing assistants or junior account executives with PR firms €“ are known in the trade press industry as €œscript kitties€ and editors reserve a special scorn for them.

Choose a knowledgeable, well-spoken person (or persons) within your organization to be the contact point and then make sure they are available when editors need them. Most loss of coverage occurs when editors are unable to contact company personnel. You can make this easier by having current contact information, including names, numbers, and email addresses listed on your web site. It€™s surprising how many companies overlook this simple, but critical feature.

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Press Releases | Proper Preparation of Releases
A properly prepared press release can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. Start with full contact information and a release date at the top, followed by a benefit-based, concise headline that conveys immediate value. Avoid self-congratulatory backslapping that serves only to pump up your company. It has no value to the reader. The same goes for the body text. Too often companies make the mistake of dwelling on how great their new product or service is without putting it in context for the marketplace. What problem does it solve for the reader? What does it compare to? Why should the reader be interested in it? Forego puffery for solid, strategic information about your product, service, and company.

If you are preparing a product release that contains specifications and other technical data, editors welcome the use of bullet points €“ those lists of short, punchy phrases, often with a black dot in front of them. Editors are generally overwhelmed with coverage requests, so they prefer a short, sweet, and to-the-point release that puts a product or service in context quickly and accurately, with little or no jargon.

Press Release Poison | Words to Avoid
It€™s easy to get caught up in jargon, particularly if you are a fugitive from a large corporation awash in acronyms. Nothing is more deadly or stultifying than the overuse of now-meaningless words, including €œrevolutionary€, €œleading edge€, €œparadigm€, €œsolution€, €œleader€, €œdisruptive€ (as in €œdisruptive technology€), €œfutureproof€ and others too numerous to list. Avoid them like the plague. Work hard to use common, everyday language for clarity. It will help you stand out in the crowded marketplace and cause editors to sit up and take notice. Well-written press releases are rare these days.

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A Great Press Release and Photo or Trash| Distribution Do€™s and Don€™ts

Once you have your release prepared, take some time to find out how editors would like to receive it. Publication web sites often contain information on how to prepare and send materials. The harried, overworked, and underpaid editors like to receive as much information as possible by email. In fact, the majority of B2B trade editors prefer to get their information electronically, so don€™t hesitate to include your release text right in the body of your email. Adding in a photo? Attached documents can slow down transmission or contain viruses causing some editors to avoid attachments. If you do have a product or application photo to accompany your release, create a .jpg digital file of it, clearly name it, and send that along with your release email. It makes an editor€™s job easier €“ and increases your chance of getting coverage €“ if you can provide pertinent, professionally-produced support material and graphics to make your news more attractive and informative. Research indicates 45%-65% better coverage when images accompany press releases.

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Check Twice |Send Once 

Before you send your release, make sure you€™re sending it to the right editor. Check again. The editor you talked to when you first opened your doors is not necessarily the same one you€™d send product releases to.

Good press coverage starts with common sense. Do your homework. Contact the right editors. Use clear, concise language. Be specific. Show value. Make yourself (or somebody else) available for comment. Don€™t fudge, lie, or overstate. If you follow these simple guidelines you will be well on the way to getting the press coverage you deserve. If you€™d like press but lack time to generate coverage, contact us for more details!