Tag Archives: magazine editors

52 Fridays – #29 Finding The Right Media Outlets For Your Story

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

OK, you’ve gotten your press release written. Now what do you do with it?

The whole point of a press release, also referred to as a news release, is to get media mentions. Editorial coverage adds credibility to your business, more so than paid ads which are, after all, paid for. But if a horsebiz is written up in a newspaper, featured in a magazine, interviewed on TV or radio – not only does it get your equestrian business in front of potential customers, it adds that invaluable third-party credibility, which says that your horsebiz was worthy of attention. And not attention you purchased.

Don’t get me wrong, advertising has its place in a well-rounded marketing strategy. But today we’re talking about getting media coverage. So how do you go about getting that media attention? It’s ironic that this is today’s topic, because a few hours ago I was contacted by an about-to-launch new business, that had hired a writer to write up a news release for them, but then they didn’t have a clue what to do with it or how to send it out. If you find yourself in that situation, there are a few ways to go:

  • If you decide to hire a pro, you can go with a press release distribution service (there are a variety of them now online), or hire a publicist who’s knowledgeable about your industry or market niche; a good publicist that understands your business and marketing objectives can help you target your press release and distribution strategy for the best chance of media mention success.

As for what are the ‘right’ media outlets, well, that depends.

Think about who you want to reach, and what type of story you want to tell them. Do you want potential riding students to know you’ve just been voted as ‘instructor of the year?’ Or maybe your news is about a horse/rider team that your company’s just decided to sponsor…the point here is to think over what your story angle is, and to reach out to the media source(s) that are most likely to be interested. And don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up, since many media outlets monitor the competition (including local outlets) to see what they’re reporting on.

There’s both science, and art, in a good public relations campaign. When content, timing, and the right avenue align, it’s that ‘sweet spot’ that results in great media coverage for your horsebiz.

We’re now into the second half of the 52 Fridays series – do you have a success story or marketing tactic inspired by the series you’d like to share? Post your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #30!

Read other posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting a category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #28.

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52 Fridays – #28 Can’t Write Your Way Out Of A Paper Bag? Surefire Press Release Writing Basics

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Always remember to include contact information at the top

Press releases used to be just for the media, giving reporters information and content to help them write articles. Today, many press releases are put online as-is, which means that anyone, from your competition to your customers, could be reading them.

The pressure’s on when it comes to writing a press release (also referred to as a news release) for your business, event, or cause, but not to worry if you’re not confident in your writing abilities! Following these tips (plus using spellcheck) will help you in crafting a press release worthy of attention.

Headline: This needs to be clear and concise, as well as an attention-grabber that invites the reader to continue. Important words or terms can also be included, since they’ll become ‘keywords’ that can help with search engine results online. Some prefer to write a headline first, but it’s always good to circle back at the end and see if it needs tweaking; you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so make headlines work for you, not against you. Just for fun, here are a few ‘made up’ headlines…what can you tell, just from the title?

  • RedBarn HorseFarm Welcomes Five-Time Olympian For Weekend Dressage Clinic And Private Lessons
  • Tack-y Saddle Shop Announces New Multi-Colored Western Tack Line, Featuring Hot Pink Saddles

Story Angle or Message: What will your news release be about? This is when you must consider objectively what’s interesting to the journalist, the editor, and ultimately their readers. What intrigues you and entices you to continue reading an article? It’s not canned marketing messages or ‘rah-rah-aren’t-we-great’ text, but real, authentic, interesting information, served up in an engaging way. Also, look at what makes it into the publications or websites you’re targeting; what qualifies as news or a story worthy of telling can be quite different from what’s important to you as the owner or manager of an equestrian business. However, when writing a news release, you have to find a way to marry the two objectives.

Structure: Press releases follow some standard rules in their structure, so knowing what they are and following them to a ‘T’ will show the media you know the ropes and are a savvy story resource:

  • Include the words ‘For Immediate Release’ at the top of your press release.
  • Use the ‘inverted pyramid’ format, where the most important details are in the first paragraph, with less important information following. It’s an important tactic to convey the essentials upfront, since many readers don’t go past the first few sentences anyway.
  • Use ‘who/what/when/where/how’ to help you identify the essential details to include upfront. You might start collecting your thoughts by actually writing out that information before you start.
  • Include ‘boilerplate’ stuff at the end, typically a paragraph with data about your horsebiz such as location, when it was founded, any awards you’ve won or other important details.
  • Don’t forget contact information! Always include a name, phone number, and email for additional follow-up or questions by journalists, and if you have images available you can list that, too.

Keywords: If you have keywords that will be important search terms online, be sure to weave them into both your headline and text.

Social Media & Links: This is something I find frequently missing from equine industry news releases I see. Include in your news release embedded links to your website, your social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), AND to an online version of the news release. I often get news releases sent to my emailbox, with information I’d like to share with my own social networks, but I have limited space to do so. If I can share a link to an online version of your press release that’s at your homepage, it helps get your message out AND gets traffic to your website. Please, please, make it easy for people to help tell your story!

Spellcheck, Edit, & Review: Always run spellcheck to eliminate typos, and also be on the lookout for contextual typos – such as ‘too’ when you meant to use ‘two.’ If you can have someone else review your press release, that’s helpful, as is reading it out loud, either to yourself or a willing volunteer. Put in the effort to make it the best piece of writing possible.

For more on writing press releases, here’s a good article from Inc. Magazine’s website, or you can do a Google search to find samples and more tips. If you don’t have much experience working with editors, you can read 52 Fridays #27, Editors Aren’t Ogres, But Are You Still Afraid Of Them?

And, if you’re doing a video news release, these guidelines can help you develop a script for making your video clip. Writing a good press release can get you valuable editorial coverage, and you’ll improve your chances by sending out one that’s written well.

We’re now into the second half of the 52 Fridays series – do you have a success story or marketing tactic inspired by the series you’d like to share? Post your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #29!

Read other posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting a category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #27.

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52 Fridays – #27 Editors Aren’t Ogres, But Are You Still Afraid Of Them?

52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Getting media coverage on your equestrian cause, business, or event can seem like a daunting task, but if you follow a few ‘editor etiquette’ rules and do some homework first, you can improve your chances of getting a magazine, newspaper, or online story to be proud of. And, one that can help you get in front of new audiences.

The most important thing to remember is that while YOUR story is the most important thing to YOU, an editor has other important considerations, such as what their readers are interested in, what stories will sell advertising space, and what fits with their editorial calendar or policy. You can increase your chances of getting ‘into print’ by doing the following:

  • Get to know the publication or website and what they’re looking for: Research things thoroughly before you think about reaching out to an editor. Does the publication or site prefer how-to articles, news articles, personal profiles, or product reviews? In the ‘From the Editor’ section, what does the editor tend to write about? What’s important to him/her? Only when you understand what the publication or site is looking for can you position your article pitch (also referred to as a ‘query’) to hit the target.
  • Keep your query brief, well-written, and to-the-point: Editors are busy people, like most of us trying to do more with less and constantly facing deadlines. When you’re ready to send a query, check to see if there are guidelines about how to submit one, and if yes, follow them to the letter. If not, email is generally a good first approach, but keep things brief, clear, and concise. Think of it as an ‘appetizer letter’ – you want to intrigue the editor and stimulate their appetite for your story, not give them indigestion from too much information.
  • Be polite, friendly, and helpful – consider how YOU can make the EDITOR’S job easier: If you can help editors bring high-quality content to their readers and make their lives generally easier, you’re likely to get calls again and again. However, if you’re more of a demanding diva, good luck on getting the media exposure you want!
  • Make sure your article is well-written, within the specified word count, and typo-free: Not everyone is a good writer. If you’re in doubt about your capabilities, hire a professional, whether a freelance editor to work with you on an article you’ve written, or a writer to collaborate with you or ghostwrite for you. And please, if an editor assigns you a word count, do take it seriously! A few hundred words over is generally OK, but not an extra thousand words.
  • Have high-resolution images to go along with your story: Images on the web can be low-resolution, but print magazines need to have 300 dpi images or else they turn out fuzzy. Always have images taken in the highest quality setting, and let the editor know when you can provide illustrative images to accompany an article.
  • If you’ve been asked to be an interview resource, be responsive and available: If you’re working with a writer that’s been assigned by the publication or website, the ‘be polite, friendly, and helpful’ reminder applies here, too. Be as accessible as you can, be willing to review a draft, and return phone calls and emails promptly.

For even more insights on how to approach magazine editors, here’s a great article from the folks at The Entreprenette Gazette.

Editors get approached all the time by people, and businesses, wanting free publicity. You can stand out from the crowd, and get better results, by first showing editors what you can do for them.

We’re now into the second half of the 52 Fridays series – do you have a success story or marketing tactic inspired by the series you’d like to share? Post your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #28!

Read other posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting a category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #26.

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