Are press releases still effective? I think so.
Get a media directory or do online research to find newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, if you aim high, in your target area. Many take email press releases now. Some still take only hard copy, but those are easy to write too.
Install a form on your website or blog where people can sign up to receive emails regarding your new product or book releases or events.
If you do ‟meet and greets” or book signings, take along a guest book where people can sign up to receive emails from you.
If you want to send email press releases, either to print or online media or as an exciting announcement to friends, business associates, and family, follow these rules so your announcement won’t be deleted, filtered to spam, or judged rude by the recipient.
1. Don’t send the email to anyone who (a) has not signed up to receive promotional emails, (b) does not accept press releases by email (check media directory, or (c) isn’t a close enough relative or friend who will think your news is exciting and be glad that you notified them.
2. Follow the KISS rule - keep it short, sweetheart. People are busy. Give the pertinent information, you know, the old who, what, when, where, why, and how. For a book also give the publishing info: title, genre, ISBN, publisher, release date, price, & how to get a copy. Keep it to a couple of paragraphs so the reader doesn’t have to scroll and scroll again.
3. Address the emails individually. Don't send them en masse. What’s worse than BCC’ing everyone though is putting all of them in as recipients where everyone can see everyone else’s email addresses. I can’t tell you how much annoying mail I’ve received from total strangers who click a mass email Reply To All. Don’t be guilty of this. If you send each one individually, the recipient will think you actually thought of them especially for this, and it will make them feel special.
4. Personalize where possible. Put a little note at the top of the email with a personal message. The few seconds you spend doing this will make the recipient regard you warmly rather than with irritation.
5. Send your email announcements in a timely fashion - not so far in advance of the product's release, anniversary celebration date, or whatever you're wanting remembered that, by the date, the recipient has forgotten. Also, don't send so far after the event, like a book release, that the book is no longer available. Timing, as funny man Steve Martin said, is everything.
6. Make sure your news is not only of interest but is presented in an interesting or entertaining manner. If mailing to media for inclusion in local newspapers, remember to find a hook that makes it local newsworthy.
7. Narrow your focus so that your press release is important to your target group. Instead of sending an announcement about a book with a plot set in a small Texas town to newspapers in Houston, send it to the towns that surround your setting area. If you have something involving a landscaper who grafts a special rose, don’t send it to just any garden society, target the rose growers. The more you narrow your focus, the better results you’ll have in garnering interest.
8. Always, be a professional. Proofread your email. Don’t treat it as if it’s a hurriedly scribbled Post It Note. It’s professional correspondence so make sure it looks like that.
9. Keep a log of the press releases you send so you’ll know if you’re getting any publicity as a result, and so you won't send others and be remembered as a nuisance.
10. If someone objects to what you send, be polite and assure them you will remove their name from your list. Then do it.
That's it. Pretty simple and mostly common sense. Just give some thought to the result you want to achieve and then plan your publicity campaign carefully.
Email Press Releases and old-school hard copy press releases all make low-cost, excellent promotion if used correctly.
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