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Making Friends with the Press

One way to get free publicity to help your marketing is to get to know your local press. Berni tells you how to approach journalists and write press releases.

Making Friends with the Press

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Drawing by Angel P

One way to get free publicity is to make friends with your local newspaper’s business editor. They are usually on the lookout for stories and unusual angles on businesses in their area. If you can come up with a good story around your business or game then it could catch their eye – and help you both out. Grab a copy of your local paper (or check it online) and find out who writes business stories and what day the business news usually appears. It is usually pretty easy to find a journalist’s email once you know a name – or see if they are on Facebook and Twitter to make contact even faster.

The easier you can make writing an article or feature about you, for them – the more likely it is that the paper/magazine will use your story. Write a good concise press release – but don’t waffle or go into too much detail. Something short and sweet and then say: "if you’d like to know more contact us" – and give your details. If you’re not sure what a press release looks like – then there are plenty of free examples on the web.

This one is pretty good:

http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/pr/writing-a-press-release/a-complete-guide-to-writing-an-effective-press-release

This one has real life examples too:

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Press-Release

Don’t worry if your first press release doesn’t get any response – it usually isn’t personal. It could be that the journalist is busy or has too much copy for that week’s paper. You could try over holiday periods when things might be a bit quiet on the business front.

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Picture by Gina Carpio

Once you have made contact and got a story in the press – then it is easier to drop them a line every now and again when you have new stuff happening. You never know – your local paper may be part of a big national group and other papers may pick up your stories too – so it is worth a bit of effort getting your story told locally first.

We got a lovely article in our local paper The Sentinel – and also recorded a video for their online version  http://tinyurl.com/htvj9t5

Also it might help if you look up your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Coach – as these will often have free mini-courses or networking events for anyone running a small business. You don’t always have to be a member. You can pick up quite a lot of good tips and make contacts in other fields – and you may well bump in to local press at these events too.

I’ve attended free courses in online marketing, social media and how to write a business plan so far – and they have all come in very useful!

Check other topics in this blog – like how to apply for awards and get yourself noticed – coming soon!

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