▪ Advertise: Buy space to deliver the message you want.
▪ Public relations: Take advantage of the press’s need for content by becoming the story.
Advertising allows you to control what is printed, but it can be expensive and readers may view advertisements with skepticism. Using a public relations approach reduces your control over what is printed, but is usually free and can enable your message to be seen as news or helpful information by the reader.
An important PR tool
The press (newspapers, magazines and trade publications) are always looking for information that readers would find interesting, informative or useful. To conduct a successful public relationship campaign, you must create and deliver such content to publications that serve your targeted readers (typically customers and prospects). The primary means of making that connection is the news release.
A news release is simply a document that contains summary information about a topic or event that you want to disseminate. Many publications, and the journalists who write for them, receive dozens of news releases each day.
Here are some suggestions for making your company’s releases stand out:
▪ Report information that is newsworthy and valuable. The “news” could be the introduction of a new product, the launching of a new website, the landing of a new major customer, the hiring or promotion of an employee, or results of a survey your firm conducted.
▪ Provide the details and quotes that journalists need. Releases should include enough information to enable the journalist to write a short story, and complete contact information so the writer can reach out to you for more information for a longer story. Include background information on your company and a quote or two from one of your executives.
▪ Distribute the release effectively. You must deliver the release to the right people. If your ultimate audience is the general public, send it to local newspapers and magazines. If your audience is a certain type of business, send the release to all of the trade publications that decision makers at that type of business read.
▪ Direct the release to a specific person. If at all possible, direct the release to the person who is most likely to be writing about your topic. To learn who that is, research recent copies of the publication.
▪ Make yourself available for follow-up. Journalists operate under the constant pressure of deadlines. If a journalist calls, try to take the call or return it immediately.
▪ Nurture a relationship with the writer. Journalists are always looking for sources of good article ideas. Try to position yourself as an insightful and informed expert on your market. You never know when you may get a call and have the opportunity to garner more free publicity.
This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.