Got a great idea but lost when it comes to spreading the word? Here are some easy tips on how to package your press materials and get noticed and in the right hands.
Know Your Stuff
Before you start mass emailing and picking up the phone, what are you promoting? Know your stuff before you seek out press. What, where, when, who and how. If you can’t answer these on the fly, and better yet, if they aren’t addressed in your press material—start again. Think about film and the 2-minute elevator pitch. I want a general sense of the big picture. Now, if I’m hooked, send me more.
Tailor Your Content
Put that branding and audience-marketing hat on. Make sure what you write and how you present it are in line with your brand and your target. If your company is meant to be vibrant and fresh, make sure your materials reflect this vibe. If you’re into podcasts, I suggest you talk a listen to this one: The Power of Colour—a great CBC radio-mentary into colours and how they are interpreted in business and beyond. But forget pinks and blues, and start to notice who you’re after and package it as one: your brand, your message, your presentation (keeping your media sources in mind).
Spell It Right
Read your material over and over again until you are positive everything is spelt right. Spelling mistakes can kill your chance of being taking seriously. Not only that, make sure the names, places, albums etc. you cite are spelt correctly. Be diligent, be consistent (don’t overdo too many fonts or stylized items), be simple and to the point. There is much to say about clarity and clean delivery. Also, books and films should be italicized; quotation marks are not needed.
Dress Your Press
Whether you’re promoting an event, a new service or what have you, your press material has to be professional-looking. Now, what do I mean by this? Everyone has their own style. That’s fine. If you like cursive fonts, go for it. But you have to take into consider a few things: balance, flow, readability, image size and quality and of course, your audience. Your press material is for you, tailored for your audience but destined for the media. Keep this in mind.
Images gets its own category. Regardless if you’re sending an e-kit or printing out a letterhead or your press materials, all images should be high resolution. I’m a huge stickler on this. Nothing less than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Yes, 150 will do, but if you want quality, always, then go with the best. Pixilated images look awful. This applies to logos, all branding images, and pictures included therein. And by no means should you blow up a low resolution image. A low resolution image will always be a low resolution image, regardless of size up the quality. Unfamiliar with these terms? Time to do some research.
How to Get it
Content is on target. text, sans errors. images are top quality. design is in line with your brand and audience. Everything looks tops. Great. So how do you get press? Well, here’s the truth. Not every project gets media attention. Bad ideas will always and forever be bad ideas. That said, be careful when you submit your materials for review. If the media world is congested with top news, big names, the holiday season—reconsider your release date. Summer is never a great time to push something either, given most major newspaper and magazine editors are on vacation.
Who is your Customer?
Figure out who you want to reach, and when it’s a good time to reach them. I’m big on contact lists. I map out all potential media in an Excel chart—from the company’s name, to contact numbers and emails, website and of course, who’s who and who I need to reach. This is where the real work starts. There’s really no easy way around it. Of course, always approach your sure sellers first, people you know or who have an invested interest in what you have to offer.
Understand you Customer
Don’t go selling dog food to a cat owner. Be careful that what you’re presenting is of value to those you are approaching. You don’t want to come across as the person that doesn’t know what they’re doing or who they’re after. That said, it’s really a game about interest, intrigue and timing.
Personally, I’ve cold-called, I’ve emailed. I’m not a big fan of mass emailing however. Why? It’s easy to ignore. You don’t get the same response as sending a personalized email (where you can modify more than one element to appeal to your reader), attachments might be screened as spam, and I don’t like the cost. Whatever you do, touch base after a week and don’t give up!
A rich topic, that’s for sure and potential for much more discussion. Have any questions? This is how to package your press materials and get noticed.