Increase Your Odds of Making It into a Local Paper

When you have a news item or release, how can you increase your chances of seeing it in print? These suggestions may help:

  • Contact one or more of the papers it was sent to. Ask, “Did you get the release?” Or check who within the organization should have gotten the release, and whether they reviewed it. If it passed them by, offer to resend the release or to drop it off at their offices.

This action alone can greatly increase the odds of getting published. Follow-up pays in PR as well as sales!

  • When you’ve got an editor or reporter on the phone, offer to act as an expert source for future articles. While they may not see fit to publish your current release, they MAY be planning do run something on your topic at some point.

Tell them, “I’m the expert in this area. Count on me for information, suggestions, or answers.”

  • Leverage “old” releases. When you’ve got an editor or reporter on the phone, brainstorm with them about topics of potential interest to their audience. For example, you might ask if real estate is something their readers are concerned about right now. If yes, mention the information in an “old” release that relates to real estate in some way.

ALL of your previous or “old” releases have information that could be repurposed for a timely article “now.” Use them for the valuable resource they are.

  • Consider sending your current release to additional newspapers, beyond those on your original list. Expanded exposure can only increase your chances of a pickup.

Most libraries have directories that list local papers together with mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers.

  • Form a positive, personal relationship with local editors, reporters, or publishers. There’s no reason they can’t be your acquaintances or friends, with added motivation to get you into print. Ask around: “Do you know the editor of …… ?” Request an introduction.

And remember, your aim should be to help them with THEIR needs, not just ask for them to help YOU. If you can help them get important, interesting news out efficiently, with the least effort, they will be grateful – and probably quote you in the article.

  • Be active in your community if you aren’t already. Public service and school activities will put you in the forefront of people’s attention, increasing the odds that you’ll break into print one way or another.

Remember, publication of a news release isn’t the only route to publication. “Joe / Jane Doe elected to school board” works fine too. Even if your profession isn’t mentioned in the article, hundreds of people will be reading your name and talking about you. Then when they or one of their friends needs what you offer, YOU’RE the one they’ll think of.

Getting into print, like sales and marketing, involves a lot of visibility, connections, and face-to-face social networking. Be OUT there, and you’ll be noticed and written about sooner or later. Also remember, when approaching the press --

  • email is good,
  • a phone call is better, and
  • personal contact best of all. Warm them up with a handshake, smile, conversation, and relevant, helpful information.

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