In my nearly twenty years of experience in the industry the answer seems to be the same: positioning! I have found that by correctly positioning each book, product or service you can literally double your media exposure.
What do I mean by positioning? It is simply the art of presenting your book, product or service to the media in such a way as to convey an immediate interest and understanding of the subject. It “positions” your topic with other similar topics in the news so that those reading your press materials can easily understand the subject and see how it compares to others like it. Positioning has been used for decades by Madison Avenue with much success, yet there is little understanding of it.
When it comes to writing a release to attract media attention – radio, television, and print – the rules of press release writing need to be…well….rewritten.
You always need to put a well-thought out strategy, mixed with creativity into the presentation of your product and service to the media. Let’s face it. With the infinitely growing competition in the market, there’s a demand on businesses to get more aggressive about their promotion. The competition for attention makes the job of publicity increasingly more difficult. But, positioning is the missing link that will pull you through. Here are some tips that my firm Event Management Services uses to position our clients:
- Your press materials must have a good understanding not only of your unique message but also how it is relevant to today’s society.
- Take a look at what you are promoting and find the “pearls” – those pieces of information that set it apart. Or, those statements or assertions that are alarming or ground-breaking about your product and service.
- Find out how similar topics are being portrayed in the media. How does yours compare? How is it different? Is there a new slant to it?
- Distill this information into a two page release jam-packed with information and an exciting headline. Keep in mind that you’ve got to grab and retain the attention of a very busy producer.
- Don’t require the producer or editor to use their imagination to see how the topic would be of interest to their listeners/viewers/readers. Give them an instant concept of the show or article you are suggesting.
- Don’t send out the same release to the different media. Remember that they are each looking for something different. A 20 minute interview on a talk radio show is not the same as a 5 minute television news interview.
- Always include those special features about yourself (or your spokesperson) that make you an authority on the topic; why you would make a good guest (and not put the audience to sleep) and what questions could be asked during the interview.
- Radio releases can be “salesy”, although they should give all of the information a host will need to do the show – a clear concept of the show topic, background data on the subject, sample questions and a separate page for your bio.
Lastly, bear in mind that no matter how good your press materials are, without a good follow-up campaign by phone, your efforts may not pay off. Often times the media never receives your materials or was interested but just too busy to call for more information. Following up by phone puts you ten steps ahead of the hundreds of publicists desperately vying for their attention.