Friday, August 31, 2007

What to do with your press releases?

Recently, someone on one of my mailing lists asked our thoughts about submitting releases to places like PR Web, which allows you to submit your press release to thousands of media outlets, sometimes free, but often for a fee.

Writing a release and submitting it to a place like PRWeb can definitely get you SOME traffic; however, I have found that it’s much more effective to create a list yourself, and start making friends with editors.

Some questions to get you started:

  • Who are you trying to reach? How old are they, what level of income/education/etc.

  • What are their interests?

  • What do they read? What shows do they watch/what radio stations are they listening to? What trade magazines might they have subscriptions to?

  • Where are they? Are you looking for local or national?

From there, you should have a pretty good list to start out with. Once you have that, you start looking for contacts. Magazines and newspapers are the easiest – in the first few pages, you should be able to find editor’s names. Give them a call and introduce yourself. Ask if it’s a good time to chat and let them know that you’d like to submit some press releases to their organization, and would they be the person to send them to? What format would they prefer – e-mail, Word Docs, snail mail? Make a note of all this in your contact management software and then, when you have a release that’s perfect for their outlet (make sure it’s newsworthy and something they’d be likely to publish; editors HATE getting press releases that have nothing to do with their magazine/paper), send it to them along with a note saying, “thought you’d be interested in this thing I’m doing; thank you for taking a look!”

It takes a while to do all this, but it’s MUCH more effective than the “spray and pray” approach of places like PRWeb, although using this approach in conjunction with PRWeb would be a good thing – they can get attention from a wide array of outlets you might not have thought of. And mind you, this is just a very basic outline of PR; if you want to REALLY get into this stuff, work with a PR professional that specializes in your type of business. They'll often have contacts that you don't, and you'll save time and stress in the long run, and get better results!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Want to build a great brand? Start with yourself!

The last few weeks have been illuminating (to say the least). In the midst of some personal unpleasantness and the (normal, all-encompassing) stress of running the zen kitchen, I started thinking long and hard about myself, my life, and what I want to do with it.

And I learned a number of things. For one, I'm incredibly good at telling stories - and at helping other professionals tell theirs. I'm great at working with creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and folks who are genuinely passionate about what they do and want to make sure they can do it for a living. Not only that, I am TERRIFIC at helping these people, in some cases, figure out what they love and what they should be making a living out of, and then figuring out how to position them so that they can actually achieve that.

This is my brand. I help people create businesses that align with their passions and values and market them in ways that help them succeed. And sometime tomorrow, I'll think of a cleaner way to say that - but for now, here it is.

And the key to creating these brands is helping these people - often folks that want to make a difference through their work, or who want to follow a particular passion of theirs and turn it into something they can make a good living out of - understand WHAT makes them passionate about this business, WHY they're putting themselves on the line in this way, and WHY it should matter to the people who will, ultimately, determine their success.

So what makes you passionate? What ideas give you that fire in your belly that just won't burn out? I'll bet you can turn that into a business.