Regarding media exposure, I’ve had this conversation many times:
You: “I think I have a great product, but no one knows about it.”Me: “Do you have someone handling your public relations?”You: “We looked into it, but it’s so expensive. We’re just trying to do it ourselves for now.”Me: “Well, what are you doing?”You: “We post on social media and send out press releases, but it’s like people still don’t know we exist.”
Well, if you want to know why you’re not earning media exposure… maybe it’s because you’re not making yourself, your product, your service, your business, or even your brand newsworthy.
1. You’re not earning media exposure because you are sending a press release.
Before I start working with most clients, the words “press release” are usually spoken in the first 10 minutes… and not by me. I don’t like press releases, but many small business owners insist on me writing them and sending them out. If this is what you’re doing, this is why they may not be working for you:
Your press release is too long
Your press release is boring
Your press release is complicated
Your press release is not newsworthy
Your press release is too evergreen
2. You’re not earning media exposure because you are reaching out to the wrong people.
Earning media coverage is hard. Because it’s not only free, but much more effective than advertising, small business owners want it for their brand. Many times, this means pitching anyone and everyone in the media industry with an email address. This is not effective. When I was a TV reporter in Miami, I would receive pitches that included a topic in a different market, a topic I have never covered before, a topic that would never be covered by the TV station itself, and the list goes on.
3. You’re not earning media exposure because you are promoting your brand too much.
While some media coverage may end up being seen as a great commercial for a brand, it should never be pitched this way. Remember, the job of a journalist is to tell a story that will educate, entertain, and evoke some kind of emotion in the reader or viewer. If your brand isn’t doing that with a pitch, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
4. You’re not earning media exposure because you are not trying hard enough.
Very rarely does a member of the media come to you. If one does, consider yourself lucky and that a rare occasion. Journalists work 24/7 – at 2:00 am, on Christmas morning, and many times in a few different cities in just a couple of days. It’s not a 9-5 job, so you cannot treat your outreach like it is.
5. You’re not earning media exposure because you are not ready.
If your website is not up and running or if your product is not ready for distribution, then you are not ready to earn media exposure. Unless you have a solid business plan with something to see, people to talk to, and documents to share, then you need to do more on the business side before trying to earn exposure in the media.
Now that you know what’s not working, why not try some things that work? In this free e-mail course, I’ll teach how to right some of these wrongs.
Yes, I own a public relations firm… and I hate press releases. Sounds crazy, right? Well, I spent almost a decade deleting them, so there’s that.
When I was looking to leave the TV business and start working at a public relations firm, so many wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have any PR agency experience. I would say, “No, I don’t, but I do have experience deleting just about everything you’ve ever sent me. Would you like to know why?”
Honestly, not one of them wanted to know why… but they still continued to send me terrible press releases in an attempt to earn their clients publicity.
So, here are 6 reasons I hate press releases:
No one was putting themselves in my shoes.
I’m the reporter. I’m the one you want to cover the story, so put yourself in my shoes. Is it what I usually cover? No. Does it pertain to the area I cover? No. So you’re sending it to me why? Because it’s what you should do?
It wasn’t newsworthy.
Most press releases I received basically screamed, “Please, give my client a free commercial! There is nothing really newsworthy here, but I need to get this on TV!” Unless the news day is so, so, so very slow… local TV news doesn’t do free commercials. Instead, educate me. Entertain me. At least attempt to make it newsworthy! There’s gotta be a story in there somewhere. In addition, why should I do your story when I’m one of dozens, if not hundreds getting this exact same press release?
They are just too long.
Do you know how many press releases news outlets and journalists get in a single day?! It’s a lot. You’d be shocked! If you don’t keep it short and sweet and get to the point, all your time and energy writing that press release was wasted.
It said “Press Release” in the subject line.
That = automatic deletion. Seriously, you could have the solution to all of the worlds problems in that press release. With that subject line, no one will read it.
It said “Breaking News” in the subject line…
and was about an art show… the same day a mass shooting occurred. This not only gets you deleted, but shamed and embarrassed in the newsroom and in online industry groups. I’ve seen it. As a journalist, I laughed. As someone in the PR industry, please stop. You are embarrassing me.
It didn’t give me what I needed, when I needed it.
If I’m in TV, what would I do with high resolution pictures or quotes? Nothing. I need an interview… and not a Skype interview. An in person interview… and that person better be available from the second you send me that press release. If I ever responded to a press release, this was a follow up problem. In TV, we do things the day of. Unless it’s a special report, the story is started and finished within hours, so don’t send me something to cover, then tell me to wait because you aren’t ready. You just lost your chance.
With that said, I don’t think all press releases are pointless. I bet everyone jumps at the chance to read one from Apple. I would. They put out some pretty good stuff. I still write press releases for clients. I definitely think they have a time and a place, but I do not believe press releases should be a go-to thing each and every time you want to reach out to the media. Many PR pros do. In my opinion, #1-#6 is how not to write a press release.
For more on how I can help you grow your business, whether it be through a strategic press release or pitch, please e-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com… or you can check this out! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR.