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How to increase the chance of getting a Press Release published

In the communications industry, advertising in magazines is one effective means of getting your message across. Placing a one page advertisment on the right newspaper or magazine can most probably get the message to your target demographic. However, there is always a back door to getting published without having to pay a cent. Welcome to the strategy known as the press release – a means to get your message through without having to pay P100,000.00 for an ad space.

I was part of a panel last week at the “PR Rocks” PRSP Summit together with Ms. Pennie Azarcon-dela Cruz of Sunday Inquirer Magazine and Jones Campos of Globe Corporate PR. We discussed the Malu Fernandez controversy from an editorial perspective, corporate transparency to consumers, and tips on how to pitch to the media. Ms. Pennie, an award winning editor, gave some tips on how to make the editor’s job easier in choosing which press release to place.

Are you a PR or marketing practitioner? Here are some effective ways to get your press released published. You have to bear in mind that dozens of press releases make it to the inbox of newspaper and magazine editors every day. How does the editor pick the really good ones to publish? How do you make your piece of paper stand out from the rest of the stack? Here is a compiled list from Ms. Penny with some of my notes:


Be familiar with the publication’s editorial calendar
At the beginning of the year, the editorial staff will most likely release its editorial calendar for advertisers. Use this as a rough tool to plan out which months your press release can be pitched. For instance, campaigns for sports and resorts are best pitched right before the summer months, weddings and romantic getaways for June and February, and campaigns for “resolutions” at the beginning of the year.

Know the editor’s advocacy
Nope this is not a sell out. We’re talking about advocacies here. Editors are usually very vocal about their personal advocacies (i.e. mine is educational reform, labor and skills building because I’m an Education graduate 🙂 ) so it would be good to get to know them on a more personal level (i.e. Dove’s successful Campaign for Real Beauty).

Have good photos
Editors have a huge space to fill on the page at times. Photos say more than words and if your press release can capture the human interest with beautiful photos, then the staff will most likely want to use your release for a spread.

Use lists
Lists take up what is known as the sidebar – that space needed to be filled by articles that are a tad short, or articles that lack photos. Lists are soft sell ways to get your message across and have been proven to be very effective – even with blogs. Lists are effective for print because they are short, informative and practical (i.e. Top 5 Ways to Prepare for the Impromptu Date – a list that is actually written to promote the use of deodorant).

Know the needs of the editorial staff for ex deals and partnerships
Editors are always on the lookout for locations to do photo shoots, products to pull out and contest prizes. Bear these in mind together with the editorial calendar for locations (summer shoots, romantic night spots, malls, restaurants) and give these places to them in return for a press release.

Rewrite your press release as a human interest article
Editors are always on the lookout for articles that can captivate culture, trends, and the extraordinary. Your in house PR copywriter should be able to turn a press release into a softer piece. This is very similar to using lists, but is more complex to do as it requires the creativity to weave a lifestyle aspect into a technical piece.

ADVERTISE!!!
The publishing industry thrives in advertising. If you always send press releases without advertising, sooner or later, editors will scrap your press release in favor of those companies who are helping them pay the bills.

Most of the credit for this piece goes to Ms. Pennie Azarcon-dela Cruz of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

6 replies on “How to increase the chance of getting a Press Release published”

Jayvee:

Interesting suggestions. I particularly like the idea of creating lists and offering visuals. With the increase in non-traditional publishing (like blogs), putting some downloadable content on your website is a good idea too, so publications can grab your company logo, photos and other info off the site directly.

Pennie is right about how busy most journalists are, so I agree you should do your homework before sending stuff out.

For a pitch, you don’t necessarily need a press release. If you want the publication to consider an article about your company’s products or services, or including your representative as a source for a broader article, you’ll probably do better sending a short pitch that lays out the potential story. If the reporter thinks it’s a news release that dozens of other reporters are also receiving, they may be less likely to jump at the story. (Exclusivity is important to journalists.)

[…] How To Get a Press Release Published September 14 2007 Are you a PR or marketing practitioner? Here are some effective ways to get your press released published. You have to bear in mind that dozens of press releases make it to the inbox of newspaper and magazine editors every day. How does the editor pick the really good ones to publish? How do you make your piece of paper stand out from the rest of the stack? Here is a compiled list from Ms. Penny with some of my notes: [Read] […]

Thanks for the great tips.

I agree with Mr. Eggerston, leads are just as effective as PRs (especially if you work with a big wire service like PRNewswire or something similar which makes the pitching process easier).

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