Most new business owners struggle hard to create content. The trouble is that they rarely plan and create content specifically designed to attract the media and spread the word about their business for free.
There are a number of ways to attract media attention. Here are some suggestions:
1. It Has to Be Newsworthy
Answer the questions, “What’s new?” and “Why should anyone care?” The latter question applies to both the journalist reading your press release and to anyone in their audience who will be seeing your content if they give you media coverage.
2. It Can’t Be a Sales Letter
Earned media in newspapers and magazines needs to be newsworthy and useful, containing human interest. It is not a sales pitch for your business. Any press releases that are too full of hype will be passed over by smart journalists.
3. Keep It Concise
Paper-based publications such as newspapers and magazines have limited space. Even if they publish online, readers have short attention spans. They want the facts. This being the case, keep it short and sweet.
4. Write a Great Headline
This will grab attention, but also be considered a promise of what they will find when they read the entire article.
5. Write an Interesting and Supportive Subheadline
The subheadline, also referred to as the excerpt or summary, will support the headline, giving more information about what the reader can expect. It can also serve as a synopsis of the main points the press release or blog post will be covering.
6. A Great Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph should draw readers into the heart of the story. Skip the fluff and get on with it.
7. Use the Six W’s of Journalism in Your First Paragraph If You Can
The six W’s are:
Who did it, what happened, when, and so on. Learn how to write tightly, and then expand upon the information in later paragraphs as needed.
8. Position Yourself As an Expert
Your free content will hopefully lead to your paid content. But it can also lead to positioning yourself as an authority in your category or niche who is worth paying attention to if the content is useful and has a broad appeal. For example, imagine you create a special report about the top ten things people need to know before they buy a swimming pool. The report can be downloaded for free at your site.
If you are just an ordinary person who happens to have bought a pool, your input will be interesting, but perhaps not very thorough. A person who has been selling swimming pools for more than 20 years, in all shapes and sizes, above ground and below, will be considered more of an expert and therefore gain more earned media. If they then publish a book and put it on sale at Amazon, that would be newsworthy too.
9. Check Your Timing
Issuing press releases too early may mean your story gets lost in the shuffle. Publishing it too late (for example, if you are promoting a live event you wish people to attend) might mean you donít get as many people to come.