Press releases are the long-time standard for generating media coverage. But if you have ever sent out a release, you may know that they can often fall flat and seemingly disappear into a black hole. Press releases can be a hit or a miss, though they can have some other benefits.
Newspapers, magazines, and television news shows use press releases and news tips to locate news and human interest stories. Anyone can send a press release, but to get the attention of reporters, it must be professional, newsworthy, and appealing to the media outlet’s target audience.
Elements of a Media Kit
A media kit is a collection of information and facts about your book or business that the media can access to learn about you and what you’ve written, as well as your professional background and experience. In the past, media kits were traditionally delivered by postal mail in hard-copy format, but access to the internet has led to more and more authors and businesses making their media kits available online. You may include some or all of the following:
- Previous media coverage (links to articles, links to media sites, news or radio programs, or a simple list of places where you or your book have appeared)
- Press release archives
- High-resolution photos
- One-page fact sheet about your book
- Frequently asked questions with answers (written as if conducted as an interview)
- Articles you have authored
- Contact information for you or your PR professional
Press Releases and the Internet
Traditionally, a press release is sent directly to media outlets or sent through a distribution service. One of the most popular online distribution services is http://prweb.com. For a fee, your release can be distributed to hundreds of online news sources, including industry-specific journalists. You can also access press release distribution via http://gebbiepress.com.
Not only can this offer added exposure for your book with the chance of getting featured in a local or national news story, it can also provide some temporary results for search engine optimization and website traffic. When you optimize your press release with targeted keywords, you may see some compelling results.
For example, you might issue a press release before Valentine’s Day to announce tips for making it romantic. You can use anchored links in your release (text-based links, which are great for SEO) to link back to various pages on your website (the gift certificate page, services page, etc.).
This strategy comes with its share of risks. There are no guarantees that your ranking will increase or that anyone will care about your release. But search-engine-optimized press releases can have an impact on sales, and if you generate enough business to cover the cost of press release distribution, then it can be worthwhile. Also consider the fact that it only takes one major story to make the effort worthwhile. If your release gets picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle or the New York Times, that alone can be gold.
Check back soon for our post “How to Write a Press Release.”
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