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Emailing editors (180 emails) did not work at all, even though they were individually tailored.
What we need is to hire a service or person to call (and write) editors to get them to write about our websites.
In particular, we are trying to promote our virtual tour -
If you know anyone who can provide "guaranteed" coverage or has a proven track record, we'd sure appreciate a reference.
[edited by: physics at 10:02 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2006]
[edit reason] No personal domains, see Term of service #13 [/edit]
Just so you're more aware, I work at a college newspaper and they get hundreds of faxes, emails, phone calls a day regarding groups or people that want to be in the paper.
The entertainment section gets PR packs, CDs, DVDs, video games, faxes, etc. all day long from all over the country. They are drowning in all the stuff.
If someone can guarentee coverage in a paper etc., they would have to be extremely professional and extremely expensive.
I've received freebies, food hampers, product samples even a pair of £300 wellies to write about!
A press release out of the blue without any public interest is a waste of time and effort.
What's left? I have actually spoken to some journalists and editors, and at the very least, they listen...
I have thought about sending out "panoramic postcards", e.g. 3" x 7" with 360-deg views and our website URLs on the front, with a short description and URL to the press release on the back.
What do you think?
I've worked on two ends of the press release saga: at a newspaper and at a bureau that traced for clients how often their press releases actually appeared in newspapers. A panoramic postcard is not the way to get a press release published (and FGS don't make them go online and type in a URL to get to the press release!). Even in this day and age, what will get you published is your story. Why will your story be interesting and/or helpful to the readers of the paper? As has been said, you're competing with a flood of other news releases (to say nothing of actual news), and there's only so much space.
Unless it's an online periodical, or its contact information specifically says to use email, email most likely won't be the best way to contact. Even if you try to target the correct person to send it to (which won't be the "editor" of the paper unless it's a small operation), it's probably going to have to be passed from hand to hand several times before any decision is made, have notes scribbled on it, etc., etc. -- Well, that will happen on its way to a positive decision. Anyone at any point along the way may simply trash it.
In my experience, a press release that's just a press release tends to have the status of a filler, which is exactly what it sounds like: "We have three inches to fill up in this column. What can we slap in that will be the right length?"* If you want your press release to be raised from the status of a filler to the status of a story, the people making the decisions need to see that it's something that will make a difference to their readership. How will knowing about your company affect readers' lives? Why should they care about it? Why should the paper give part of its precious space to it? (Note that the size of a newspaper is based on how much ad space has been sold for that issue. If all else fails, you can always buy space.)
There might be some periodicals where your press release will be more of a story than it is at others. If there's a particular audience that would be helped by knowing about your company or product, there are probably newspapers and magazines devoted to it.
*The reason, BTW, that you want to put your most important information first - the person who's cutting off those first three inches is concerned with filling those three inches, not with how much of the filler article is getting published.
Also ETA: I'll go along jessejump - Anyone who guarantees publication is either lying or owns the publishing company. OTOH, there are good public relations companies out there who can help you get your message out in a way that will get noticed and published. If you're aiming at a particular niche/audience, find a company that has experience with it.
Yes, we do have a very interesting story and website for SOME people. What I will pay for is someone who KNOWS WHICH journals etc cater to those people, and knows something about the types of articles that might interest which publishers.
For our <snip>, we'd want someone who is familiar with gardening and garden touring publications, and can help us choose which ones get our full attention.
Right now, I am in the dark. I know my readers/visitors are out there, but the shotgun approach is not going to work.
And let's face it, they all have to fill their copy space every day/week/month and are always looking for good stuff to fill that space.
[edited by: physics at 11:05 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2006]
[edit reason] No self promotion please. Keep descriptions general. [/edit]
[And let's face it, they all have to fill their copy space every day/week/month and are always looking for good stuff to fill that space.]
I've been writing for mass-market magazines for over 20 years, and I promise you that they DON'T have any problems filing space. :-) There's always too little space for the number of stories that editors want to run.
This is because the amount of "space" a mag has for editorial depends on the number of advertisers. More advertising, more editorial.
It's immensely difficult to get a magazine to do a story on your site on the basis of a news release. You'll need to have something NEWSWORTHY that would make a good story.
What's newsworthy about your site? Do you have any celebrity clients, for example?
Failing a news angle, buy a couple of issues of the magazines you're targeting, or read them at the library. Look at the kinds of stories they run. Once you've read a couple of issues, you'll get a feeling for the kind of material the editors like.
Then write a letter to one of the editors that says: "I very much enjoyed your story in the November issue. I have a widget web site at ______ which would interest readers who are interested in _______ because_______"
Good luck with it. Getting editorial is a challenge, but I'm sure you can do it, if you take the time to try to reach individual editors... of course it's worth it, if you can get it, in the sense that you can save tens of thousands of dollars in advertising, in the larger magazines, if you're lucky enough to get free publicity.
P.S. If you do manage to get your publicity, it will be around six to eight months before your story appears in a monthly publication.
A recent press release that I issued though PR Web resulting in me being asked for interviews by several radio stations, the story being covered by two major national newspapers and innumerable local newspapers (this is in Ireland). As a result the site got about 30-40 really excellent links and had a major surge of traffic and in fact traffic moved up a notch and stuck there since.
It was planned very carefully though, and if it is of any use, this is what was done.
1. The release covered the findings of a survey run on the site. The survey was entirely planned with a press release in mind - it was announced through one (that got no cover, but it put the name out there) and I made sure the topic was going to produce newsworthy, mildly controversial, results (along the lines of "what people like and hate most about the widgets your town's economy depends on" - the hate most bit was what got them all hot under the collar.)
2. The release went out on a really quiet news day - in this case New Year's day. This meant it got a high position for less money in PR Web but more importantly that it landed in in-boxes on a slow news day when journalists were tired, possibly hung over and looking for an easy ride.
3. It was written so that the REALLY horribly hung over could, with minimal or no editing, just run the release as it was. Several did.
4. The site itself was not pushed, just a single very short sentence describing it at the end and a link directly to where more detailed survey results could be obtained. This meant it was news rather than an ad about a site, which is what a lot of press releases look like. They are never going to do a story about a site unless it is really earth shattering.
I would not abandon the press release route, with some thought and planning it can be more productive than your experience to date.
Thanks. I appreciate your comments. But I am asking for help targetting those publications, along with writing a press release for THEM specifically etc. I don't know which, of thousands, would be best targetted.
If you want, have a look at our current press release for the site (PRweb)
Personally, I would be willing to call 100 publications and get a person's name and permission to send them something via snail mail or via email, and even to tailor it to their needs, IF only I knew which ones...
[edited by: engine at 9:04 am (utc) on Feb. 2, 2006]
[edit reason] See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
Since you have again posted an URL linking to an article promoting your website, I strongly suggest you read the Term of Service of this forum. Next time you post, take care not to breach the TOS, I am sure mods will appreciate. ;)
How do you suggest I let people read my press release for this discussion?
However, my real interest is in Alternatives to press releases (please), and AdSense.
Obviously, with a site that generates revenues only through AdSense, I cannot buy traffic from anyone, although I did try TrafficCircuit once. I had to badger them relentlessly to get the traffic sent through, and in the end it only generated slightly more revenue that it cost to buy the traffic.
Similarly with AdWords; doesn't make economic sense.
I still think the best way will be to get 100 carefully chosen publications (e.g. via Writers Market ref), locate the correct reporter/writer, speak with them personally on the phone, talk about our story and see if there's interest there, and get permission to send them something, either via email or post if they want.
That takes a lot of time, but seems to be the only way forward.
I would not be averse to hiring someone who would be good at that.