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Give them Something to Look At The media loves visuals. This is especially important for television media. Visuals are something that can be photographed to accompany article. In law enforcement, we use mug shots, photos of seized contraband, or pictures of involved officers. Visuals can really be anything associated with event. Just use your imagination. When preparing written press release, indicate that you have visuals for any interested media entity. Sometimes, having available visuals will mean difference between your release making paper or making shredder.
Develop Contacts As with most things in business, contacts are king. The best way to have your story actually make it into paper is to have a contact with press. Developing relationships with reporters and editors is crucial for a successful media relations program. Start by issuing press releases to different reporters, and when you find one who you relate to well, forward all releases to him or her. Reporters have bosses breathing down their neck for articles, and they love nothing more than a contact who feeds them ideas and stories. Contacts should be made at all of local and regional medial outlets.
Press Release Distribution Faxing press releases or sending them via regular mail is, of course, better than nothing, but emailing it gives reporter option of cutting and pasting text. Keeping them happy yields better results.
Be Proactive Here, especially if you are new to media relations, it is important to think outside box. Take a look around your business or organization. Anything newsworthy? Sure there is. Below are some examples: Promotions and transfers Organization member was recognized for an accomplishment Introducing a new, innovative product Launching of a website Creation of an innovative program When Wal-Mart learned of one of their truckers stopping to help a stranded woman change a tire, they did a television commercial on it. Get idea? Be proactive!
Timing Once you have prepared press release for distribution, don't send it. Yes, don't send it. You first need to grab newspaper and see what's happening. If a major scandal with a local politician was just uncovered, or something else that will take up news space for several days occurred, you should wait. Ideally, you want to distribute your release when things are quiet. Of course something could pop up at last minute after you have submitted press release, and that will occasionally occur. Just do you best. If you follow these seven steps, you will well on your way to launching a top-notch media relations program.
Andrew A. DeMuth is a long-time small business owner and police officer with extensive experience in marketing. He currently runs one of the nations largest law enforcement websites, http://www.NJLawman.com and has authored many articles for both http://www.NJLawman.com and other periodicals.