I can’t overstate the importance of customizing your communications (including news releases)—whether you’re approaching a blog, a small community newspaper, or the Today show. So long as these media professionals feel like their wishes and needs are being met, you can and will generate publicity. There’s a good chance, too, that you will be able to book multiple events in the same town or city.
One phone call or news release may get you publicity, but to make the most of an event requires a well-orchestrated campaign. Here are actions you can take (before, during, and after an event) to maximize coverage:
- Identify points of contact that will work in advance of an event and while at the event, so media can contact you beforehand and on short notice.
- Localize, localize, localize. With your news release, show the media that the event has significant local and editorial interest.
- Bear in mind that free events garner more publicity than those that charge admission.
- Create a custom-targeted media list, covering the daily and weekly newspapers, news services and syndicates, radio stations, TV shows, and magazines in the event area.
- Send out your first news release 3-6 weeks before the event. For daily and weekly newspapers, target the calendar editors, metro editors, and the feature editors. If appropriate, also target the specialty editors that cover your field.
- Follow up by phone with the most important media on your list at each event location, to obtain coverage and invite the media to attend, or conduct an interview before, at, or even after the event. Offer tailored articles, interviews, and site visits if your schedule allows.
- Send out a second news release 7-10 days before the event, and follow up once again by phone to get and confirm media attendance or interviews.
- At the event, be sure to thank the media for attending. Give them review copies and media kits if you haven’t already done so. Ask if there’s anything you can do or provide that would make their jobs easier.
- At the event, position yourself as a helpful champion of the locals, a facilitator of change.
- Give the media photo opportunities to capture local people experiencing real emotions. One great picture of a child or a person exhibiting a dramatic and personal feeling will galvanize the reading public to action and result in more sales.
- Send out a final news release at or immediately after the event. This release should be a short article which summarizes the high points of the event and provides ordering and contact information.
- Call to thank media contacts for the coverage and to request tear sheets. Offer additional information, articles, or interviews by phone as appropriate.
Paul J. Krupin offers trash proof news releases, expert publicity advice, and custom targeted publicity services at http://www.DirectContactPR.com/. This article is excerpted from his Trash Proof News Releases ebook.