3: 8 Simple Rules of Press Release Success
- Don’t be the auctioneer who cries wolf. Save the press releases for only the most newsworthy events. Newspapers are losing money across the nation; some experts/consultants suggest they be allowed to operate as nonprofits to help save them in the internet age. So, they don’t want to give away free advertising.
- Submit to trade publications and newsletters. Hit the collectors, traders, investors, etc. directly. The smaller publications are typically not staffed with full-time writers. They like it when you make their job easier. Plus, the potential buyer is most likely there. A local/regional news publication may not see enough readership for the story in their overall market, but the targeted periodicals will.
- Put blood in the water. Releases about potential trends, especially negative, will get read. I use this a lot to show a declining/negative trend trumped by the auction method. For instance, once we did a story about the soft potato market but the strong sale of potato equipment. It garnered front page, first headline in the ag publication in the region. I wrote one for the sale of 16 c-stores in the MidWest like that and had home page of their NAA-equivalent web site within hours.
- Write the story like a journalist would. The more it reads like a story and less like an announcement, the more likely it will get printed. Also, write it from the angle of the department/section where it will be a best fit. Send it only to that writer/editor/producer per media. You may have to write several different versions of the press release for each media outlet.
- Use quotes, stats, and anecdotes. Often you can make up quotes for the auctioneer, seller, or other participant and get them to approve the comment(s) for release before sending; other times, you can just interview them like the newspaper would so that you can manage their statements. Permission is important! Between the quotation marks is the only place for grammatically incorrect language, and I actually recommend it—so that it sounds more realistic, more colloquial (as few of us speak grammatically correctly).
- Push the angle, then the story, then the event, then the auction company. Get these out of order, and the publication (and the populace) will know this is about self interest, not public interest. Public interest makes the paper. Self interest makes the classifieds.
- Call the intended writer/editor/producer before and after sending the press release. Sometimes, press releases don’t go any further than the email inbox or fax machine because of oversight. Also, you might get better audience if you let them know they can be the only media outlet to get this story, if they run with it. News organizations pursue exclusives. Give that to them. Do it often enough with the same contact, and you might be able to get them to run stories they wouldn’t have grabbed cold.
- Post-sale press releases carry credence. If you released before the auction, follow the auction with the post-sale story. Post-sale stories are critical in brand building. So, even if you didn’t precede the auction with one–if the auction created something of public interest, by all means tell the world!
I’ve seen all different ways that people of faith try to share the good news of the Gospel with others—just about everything from the bombastic street yellers to hospice care givers. Regardless of the media or context, you can convince only so many people of their God vacuum with mass-marketing style evangelism; even if you do, this is not a good model on which to build discipleship. I am convinced that it’s genuine concern and demonstrated love on the individual level that will make the greatest impact on culture and reap the most devoted converts.
Few people give credence to the recommendations and sales pitches of TV infomercials and door-to-door vacuum salesmen. Why would we sell the world on Jesus, Christianity, or soul-healing that way? It seems to reach more people, which is a good goal. It can be easier. Maybe we just need a good mix of both systems, as long as we don’t “Set it, and forget it!”