Bob Bly, Copywriter and Consultant
USE SMART PR
to Unearth Prospects
Do it in-house for a fraction of agency cost
News releases about your products can give you results-to-expenditures unmatched by any other promotion or marketing tool. By investing a few days’ work and often less than $500 you can achieve results comparable to those produced by and ad or PR agency-for a fraction of an agency’s charges.
For direct marketers, news release have one prime purpose-to produce sales leads or inquiries that can be followed up with literature and/or qualified by telemarketing.
The key is to target your news release the same way you target mailings to your
database. Don’t simply mail to lists of magazines obtained from standard directories, like SRDS, Bacon’s Publicity Checker, or Oxbridge. Screen copies of each magazine to get a feel for its editorial approach, and tailor your release to the needs and interests of its readers.
Five Tested Ways to Produce Inquiries
As with direct mail, a lot depends on your offer. Don’t just tack a sentence onto the end of your release like “For more information, contact...” Make your offer specific. Make it tangible, like one of these:
1. Free booklet and other free information. Business prospects are always
on the lookout for ideas and information. The offer of a free booklet or report stops busy readers and get them to act, dramatically increasing lead responses Surprisingly, a modest charge does not improve quality but does cut down response.
2. Free article reprint. A variation on the free booklet theme. Trade journal articles written by company executives can be reprinted and offered in a news release. Even competitive magazines in the field will run the offer. A lengthy article can be called a “special report” or “monograph” a short one, a “tip sheet.”
3. New product release. Short reports of new products, with photos, are published by “product news” tabloids or in new product sections of industrial magazines. The product need not actually be new. Enhancements, new features, models, upgrades, or applications will do. Again, for best response, offer a free brochure or data sheet.
4. New literature release. New product brochures, catalogs, capabilities brochures, or other literature can form the basis of a release. You can follow-up a new product release in a month or two with a new literature release.
5. “New angle” release. Put a new slant on an existing product. The product may not be new, but find a new angle or application and you’ve got the makings of a news release. Is it newsworthy? That’s the key. If it’s simply a blatant puff piece disguised as a news release, the magazine, quite rightly, may suggest that you buy an ad. But make it bright, creative, imaginative, add a free offer-and you’ll be surprised at the response.
Some Common Myths About PR
1. Myth: Mailing press releases is archaic and ineffective. Use modem, e-mail, fax, floppy disk, Fedex, or other rapid-access media.
Reality: I see no evidence that editors give faxed materials more consideration than first class mail. Long articles sent via floppy disk or modem are acceptable, but will not increase chances of acceptance.
2. Myth: You can’t buy public relations with advertising.
Reality: In some cases, you can. but not in quality publications with editorial integrity. Small magazines may give advertisers preferential treatment (I have seen it many times and know it to be a fact beyond dispute.) But chances are, the quality of responses won’t be worth the effort.
3. Myth: You need “contacts” to get publicity.
Reality: Yes, contacts help, but you can succeed without them. Everytime you get coverage, add the editor’s name to your Rolodex or database. Send a short, sincere thank-you to the editor or reporter.
4. Myth: Editors want to be wined and dined.
Reality: It’s unnecessary. A few may respond to lunch at a post restaurant or tickets to a basketball game. But most editors prefer to keep PR sources at arm’s length. A simple thank-you note is all that’s called for.
5. Myth: PR promotions don’t work without follow-up.
Reality: Follow-up may get some editors who missed your material to consider it, but overall, a well-written press release, targeted to the publication’s readers, will do just well without it.
Publicity has to be managed. Postage, clerical time, media research, writing, checking, photos, addressing, mailing-all take time and supervision. As a direct marketer, you’re in them middle of things. Even though you don’t have the time, you may have the clearest insights in your company into markets, applications, customers, and prospects, so the responsibility for publicity may fall on your shoulders.
Product publicity conversion rates are typically low. Still because of its comparatively low cost, it can be a very profitable way to generate sales leads.
Bob Bly is a consultant and independent copywriter. In addition to “Targeted Public Relations,” he is the author of 30 books, including “Business-to-Business Direct Marketing,” “The Elements of Business Writing,” and “The Copywriter’s Handbook.” He can be reached at 22 E. Quackenbush Ave., Dumont, N.J. 07628, (201) 385-1220.
News releases about your products seminars and speaking topics can give you results-to-expenditures unmatched by any other promotion or marketing tool. New releases have one prime purpose-to produce leads that can be followed up with literature and/or qualified by phone.
Target your news release the same way you target mailings to your database. Don’t simply mail to lists of magazines obtained from standard directories like SRDS, Bacon’s Publicity Checker or Oxbridge. Screen copies of each magazine listed in these sources to get a feel for its editorial approach. Tailor your release to the needs and interests of its readers.
SIX Tested Ways to Produce Inquiries
1. Free booklet and other free information offers. Business prospects are always on the lookout for ideas and information. The offer of a free booklet or report stops busy readers and gets them to act, dramatically increasing lead response. Surprisingly, a modest charge does not improve quality of leads, but does cut down response.
2. Free article re-print. A variation of the free booklet. Trade journal articles you have written can be reprinted and offered in a news release. Even competitive magazines in the field will run the offer. A lengthy article can be called a “special report” or “monograph”; A short one, a “tip-sheet.”
3. New product release. Short reports of your new products with photos are published by product news tabloids or in new product sections of appropriate trade magazines. Enhancements, new features, upgrades or applications work. For best response, offer a free brochure or data sheet.
4. New Literature. New product brochures, catalogs, or other literature can form the basis of your release.
5. “New angle” release. Put a new slant on an existing product. Your product may not be new, but find a new angle or application, and you’ve got the makings of a news release.
6. Is it newsworthy? That’s the key. If it is simple a blatant puff piece, the magazine, quite rightly, may suggest that you buy an ad. Make it bright, creative, imaginative, add a free offer, and you’ll be surprised at the response.
In addition to “Targeted Public Relations,” Bob Bly is the author of 30 books, including
“Business-to-Business Direct Marketing,” “The Elements of Business Writing” and
“The Copywriter’s Handbook.” To order phone (201) 385-1220. Bob Bly is a consultant.
As an invited guest on radio and TV news and talk show interview programs, you gain a large untapped market for your programs and products. You also pick up instant credibility, stature, and the word “expert” attached to your name. Here are the reasons why radio, TV and print publicity are desirable.
· No paid ad is as direct and warm as a media guest appearance.
· News and talk show interviews generate visibility and instant response to you and your product
· Ads will not make you famous, a guest appearance will.
· Your message has more credibility as “News” than as an ad.
· Important people appear on news and talk show interviews.
At our Corporate Image Store, we specialize in placing our clients on news and talk show interviews. In this age of corporate downsizing and cutting budgets, our clients recognize the value of this type of publicity.
We work with our clients’ existing public relations structure to augment exposure in the right market place. We have direct access to over 20,000 media contacts in radio, TV and print.
While celebrates get considerable exposure, there is a lot of air time made available for products and people who can discuss their knowledge to a particular focused audience in an interesting and entertaining way.
The Corporate Image Store is the primary source of generating name awareness for speakers, recording artists, newsmakers, attorneys and Fortune 500 Corporations. Our work is extremely cost effective, maximizing media exposure and targeting the right markets and audiences at a minimal cost.
ANOTHER IRWINNING TIP
by Irwin Zucker,
Promotion in Motion,
of Southern California
THE WORLD LOVES CELEBRITIES!
Therefore, it’s good for all of us to be celebrity-oriented. Send materials about yourself to show biz personalities or current newsmakers. They love to hear from the public. You can easily get celebrity addresses by calling AFTRA headquarters in Hollywood, California, or the Screen Actors Guild in the same city. You’ll get the agent’s full data. Just send your information to the star, care of the agent.
When attending a convention, note the celebrities present. Approach each celebrity with your camera (always have one with you-and politely request permission for a photo to be taken with you. Ask someone near you to take the picture. The celebrities generally comply. Once you have the photo, you can use it to your PR advantage in flyers, presentations and in your local paper.
Who Knows? One of these days you might become a celebrity, and some one will ask to take a photo with you! Naturally, you’ll say YES!
spotted famed astronaut
Buzz Aldrin, center, at a recent
meeting of NARTSH (National
Association of Talk Radio Hosts)
in Washington D.C., and was caught
by the camera. Author Ivan Burnell flanks Adrin,
who has authored a new book, “Encounter with Tiber.”
At the same NARTSH FERENCE,
Buzz happily agreed to a photo session
with Dr. Morton Cooper, author of “Stop
committing Voice suicide.” and Dr. Riki Jones,
of “Negotiating Love.”
Irwin Zucker, Pres., Promotion in Motion
6464 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Ca 90028
PH (213) 461-3921 FAX (213) 461-0917
“Sharing Ideas” Fall, 1996, Vol. 18, Issue 6, Royal Publishing, Walters Speaker Services, P.O. Box 1120, Glendora, CA 91740 (818) 335-8069, Fax (818) 335-6127