Using the Media To Your Advantage
References to your business in newspapers, magazines and on the radio and TV can help raise your company’s profile and increase your credibility among the buying public. There are several simple strategies you can employ to grab the media’s attention.
Getting your name mentioned in the media will help build your credibility as an obvious RV Pro in your area. Every time your name and your business is mentioned in the newspaper, in a magazine, on the radio, or on TV your credibility will go up a notch in the eyes of your market. People will recognize your name and it will come to mind when they are thinking of RVs.
Start with a Press Kit
You will need to send press releases about your business and yourself. Take the time to develop a good press kit. You will want a good press kit because it:
- will automatically endorse your work as being submitted by someone who is both serious and professional
- will brand your work in a way that becomes recognizable to the media
- will motivate you to send press releases often
Your press kit starts with a pocket folder. The folder should be professional and printed with your company logo to act as your graphic ‘brand.’ Just make sure the folder you pick will fit in a standard sized envelope for mailing, looks professional, holds up well when handled and can easily hold several pages of documents plus your business card.
Your press release is the main ingredient of your kit but don’t forget some of the other basics:
- A marketing piece or bio about you, your business and accomplishments.
- A list of general questions and answers relevant to your product or service and a list of specific questions and answers that are relevant to the press release.
- If appropriate, include a couple of head shots. Most newspapers use black and white photos. Send at least a 5-inch by 7-inch high quality image because it is easier to reduce the image and save the quality than it is to enlarge it.
- Always include a statement or caption line with your name. Type it on a label and stick it to the back of your picture. That should assure you don’t see someone else’s picture along with your press.
- In addition to the release, send a cover letter on your letterhead. Keep it brief and informal in tone. Let the recipient know the topic of your release and why you thought he would be especially interested in receiving it.
- Finally, make it a habit of getting your kits in the mail. If the kits are put together in advance you will use them more often.
Writing Your Press Release
The most important part of your press kit is your actual news release. The one you write may not be the actual story the press runs but if it stimulates positive response about you and your topic it has done its job.
While the appearance of the press kit is important, the appearance of the actual news release is extremely important. The release should look good in every way from using quality paper to adhering to a standardized, professional layout.
The release should be well written. The press may rewrite your release to make it read with their particular style, but if the original is poorly written they won’t even bother to consider it. There are many books available on how a press release should look. You may even want to pay a professional to write the actual releases.
If you plan to write your own releases, here are some helpful tips:
- Some writers say to stick to one page releases but if the content is truly newsworthy, two or three pages can be acceptable.
- Begin with your headline typed in all capital letters and in bold, centered on the first line of the text.
- Double space and fully justify your text to create a highly structured appearance. Below the title write the release information such as “For Immediate Release” or “Hold Until” with the first acceptable release date. Skip several lines between this line and the first line of the story.
- Begin the release with your dateline and location. This is when you are writing the release and the city from which you are releasing the news. (November 2005, Davison, MI) would be an example.
- Use at least one-inch margins. If you do have more than one page type “More” at the end of each page of text. Begin the subsequent page with “Page Two” and continue with each additional page.
- At the end of the release type “End”.
- Make sure all your full and accurate contact information is at the bottom of the last page.
Keep it Newsworthy
Your press release can be about anything as long as it is newsworthy. The key word is newsworthy. If you waste the media’s time by sending out useless, trivial events you will fail with this powerful strategy.
- Appropriate press release topics include:
- Changes in a company
- Awards received or given
- Significant special events
- Remarkable business trends
- Human interest topics of service work
- New products
- New facilities
- Events with a local, national or global tie
- Solutions to problems
Focus On Your Goal
Don’t worry about the size of the articles or broadcasts that result from your press release. Whether it’s one paragraph or one page in a newspaper, a sound bite TV quote, or half-hour radio interview you are getting your name out there. Enjoy sharing what you know and your market will recognize you as the RV Pro.