USING A PRESS RELEASE FOR FREE PUBLICITY
Product publicity is the “secret pathway” to business success
everyone wants. In simple terms, product publicity is a kind of
advertising that costs you nothing, yet brings in the orders for
Regardless of what kind of business you are operating, you
should want, and strive for, as much publicity for your business
and your products or services, as possible. After all, it’s
“free advertising” that is essential to the growth of your
business. However, your publicity efforts should be well
thought out, and pre-planned for maximum results.
The first, and basic form of obtaining publicity is through what
is known as the press or news release. This is generally a one
page story about your business, your product/service or an
event/happening related to your business that is about to, or
has recently occurred. These publicity stories are generally
“shot-gunned” to all the various media: local newspapers, radio
and TV, and trade publications.
Problem number one is getting the people to whom you’ve sent
these publicity stories, to use them – publish or broadcast
them. And this leads us back to the “right way ” of writing
them and sending them in.
In every case, send a short cover letter addressed to the person
you want your material to be considered by. This means that
you send your story to the city editor of the newspapers; the
news directors of the radio and TV stations; and the managing
editors of the various trade publications. It will do you no
good whatsoever, to send your material to the advertising,
circulation or business managers – describing how you’re a
long-time advertiser, subscriber or listener. The most
important thing is that you make contact with the person who has
the final say as to what is to be published or broadcast, and at
the bottom line – this person’s use of your material will
somehow make him a “hero” to his or her readers, viewers or
The cover letter should be a short note. Go to a paper supplier
– tell him you want a hundred or so sheets of good bond paper –
8 1/2 by 11 preferably in a pastel color such as blue or ivory
– and that you want this paper cut into quarters, giving you a
grand total of 400 sheets of note paper. “From the desk of…”
note sheets are too elaborate until the people you’re contacting
get to know you – first time around, and until they use your
material, don’t use these semi-formal note sheets.
On this note sheet, begin with the date across the top – skip a
couple of spaces and then quickly tell the recipient of the
note that the attached material is new and should be of real
interest to his or her readers, viewers or listeners. We advise our
dealers and distributors of MONEY MAKING MAGIC – our regular
publication for serious wealth builders and extra income seekers
– to send the following note to the editors and news directors
of the media in their areas:
“Here’s something that ‘s new, and for a change, truly helpful,
to people trying to cope with inflation – the soaring costs of
living – and those engaged in building extra income businesses
of their own. This should be of real value – interest – to your
readers. Please take a look – any questions, or if you need
more info, give me a call at: (503) 666-5824…” Then, of
course, you skip about four spaces, type your name, your
business name, and your address – sign your name above where
you’ve typed it, and staple this note in the upper right hand
corner of your news release. This note should be typed and
So now, you’ve got a cover letter, and you know who to send it
to. Type up one such note and take it to a near-by
quick-print shop. Have them copy the note 4 times, paste these
4-copies onto one sheet of paper, print 50 to 100 copies, and
cut the paper into individual notes, all for less that $10. Do
not try to save money by photo-copying or Xeroxing – a
photo-copy is a photo-copy is a photo-copy, and will not do the
job for you…
Now you need the actual publicity release, which also must be
“properly” written if you expect it to be used by the media.
Above all else, there’s a proper form or style to use, plus the
fact that it must be typed, double-spaced, and short – about a
half page in total length.
About an inch from the top of the paper, with an inch and a half
margin on each side of the paper; from the left hand margin,
type in all capital letters: PRESS RELEASE: Then, underline
these words. Immediately following the colon, but not in all
capital letters, put in the date. Always set the date forward
by at least one day after the day you intend to mail the release.
On the same line, but on the right hand side of the page, and in
all capital letters, write the words, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Underline this, and immediately below, but not in all capital
letters, type your name – your phone number – and your address.
Skip a couple of spaces, then in all capital letters – centered
between the margins – type a story headline, and underline it.
Skip a couple of spaces, and from the left hand margin, all in
capital letters, type the words, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: From
there on, it’s the news or publicity story itself.
You can write the headline before the story, and then a story to
fit the headline – or the story before the headline, and then a
headline to fit the story – either way, it’s basically the same
as writing a space ad or a sales letter. You attract attention
and interest with the headline and fill in the details with your
Here’s an example of the headlines we use on publicity blurbs
for MONEY MAKING MAGIC:
HELP IN MAKING ENDS MEET
NEW PUBLICATION FOR EXTRA INCOME SEEKERS
Notice how we continue to sell or involve the editor – His or her
readers are always looking for better ways to make ends meet,
and he/she specifically interested as to what our promise
involves… He/she wants his/her readers to “think well” of him/her for
enlightening them with this source of help, so he/she reads into the
story to find out who, what and how.
Suffice it to say that your headline, and the story you present
to the editor, must sell him/her on the benefits of your product or
service to his/her readers. Unless it specifically does this, he/she
will not use it. You must sell the first person receiving your
materials. Keep this fact uppermost in your mind as you write
it. The person you send your press or publicity release to,
must quickly see and understand how your product or service will
benefit his/her readers – thereby making him/her a hero to them – and
he/she must be assured it will do what you promise in your headline.
Come right to the point and say your product is lower in price,
more convenient to use or in what way your product or service is
useful to the people in general. It’s also a good idea to
include a complimentary sample of your product or an opportunity
for him to sample your services.
Remember, the editors receiving your information are fully aware
of your purposes – Free Advertising! They are not in the least
interested in you or your credentials – If you’ve sold them on
the benefits of your business to their readers, and they want
background details, they’ll call you. That’s why you list your
telephone number and address.
These people are busy people. They have not got the time nor
the interest in reading about your trials and tribulations or
plans for the future. They want only “a flag” that alerts them
to something new and of probable real interest to their readers.
Sell the editor first. Convince him/her that you’ve found the
better mousetrap. Show him/her that your product or service – that
your business – fills a need and/or will interest a large
segment of his/her readers, his/her viewers or listeners.
When an editor uses your publicity release, always follow-up
with a short thank you note. Never, but never send a publicity
release to an editor and then call or write demanding to know
why he/she didn’t use it, use it as you wrote it, or only gave you a
quick mention. Do this once, and that particular media will
“round-file” any further material received from you, unopened!
If your first effort is not used, then you should review the
story itself; perhaps write it from a different angle; make
sure you’re sending it to the proper person – and try again!
As stated earlier, these people are busy, with hundreds of
publicity releases passing across their desks every day – They
only have so much space or time – therefore, your material has
to stand out and in some way, fit with the information they –
the editors – want to pass along to their readers, viewers or
listeners. Regardless of your business, product, or service,
you must build your press release – write it – around that
particular angle or feature that makes it beneficial or interest
to the readers, viewer or listeners of the media you want to run
your press release. Without this special ingredient, you’re
lost before you begin!
The timing of your press release is always important. Try to
associate your press release with current events in the news. A
story on job lay-offs and increased unemployment carried in the
newspapers, on TV and radio would prompt us to get a publicity
release out to all the media on the help and opportunity offered
by MONEY MAKING MAGIC! Say there’s a deluge of chain letters
and pyramid schemes making the round – the media picks up on it
and attempts to warn the people to beware… Within 5 days, we
would get a publicity release out, explaining the availability
of our report on chain letters and pyramid schemes – a report
that explains everything from A to Z – who’re the winners and
who’re the real losers.
There’s another kind of timing also to keep in mind…
Publication deadlines. For best results, always try to time it
so your material reaches the editor in time for the Sunday
paper. This is because that’s when the papers have their
greatest circulation; the most space is available and the
people, the most time to read the paper.
For articles you’d like to appear in the Sunday paper, you’ll
generally have to get your release in at least nine days prior
to the date of publication. If you’re in doubt, call and ask
about the deadline date.
Choose the media most likely to carry your press release.
Select those that carry similar write-ups on a regular basis.
Always use a cover letter of some kind. It pays to call ahead
to find out the name of the person you should be sending your
press release to.
Use the proper press release form, complete with a headline that
will interest the man deciding whether or not to use your item.
Be sure your press release is letter perfect – no typo’s or
misspelled words – and don’t photo-copy – always have each
letter or press release individually typed or printed.
When your item is used, send a thank you note or call the editor
on the phone and thank him/her for using your press release.
Never, but never call or write an editor demanding to know why
he/she didn’t use your press release, why he had it rewritten or cut
it short – just try, and try again!