GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS


You have a story to tell. Your company has developed a revolutionary new product, or an improved version of one that is known and respected in the marketplace. Most companies are media-savvy enough to take a proactive approach to publicity. Yet there are many firms that instead sit on a new development, waiting for the press to come to them because they are unsure of how to “break the news.”

The vehicle for the announcement is critical. One should avoid the “shot-gun” approach to publicity. In most cases, a technique referred to as “editorial cultivation” works. Determine the appropriate initial outlet – a magazine or newspaper, for instance – and approach that venue with your story. Once the story breaks via your primary media choice, other vehicles can, and usually will follow.

There is nothing wrong with the standard news release, except that most are written without first contacting the appropriate editor at the preferred publication. The first hurdle is deciding who to contact.

Finding your target audience
Establish your subject and audience. Once you have done so, the job becomes a matter of prioritizing the several most important print outlets for your story. If you already know your audience’s preferred industry publication, put it on the top of your list. For backups, refer to a directory like Bacon’s Magazine Directory, The Ayer Directory of Publications, or Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory, all of which provide names of the leading magazines and journals listed under each industry. For each specific magazine, in addition to circulation figures, these sources list the outlet’s primary editorial contacts, including addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Weigh the impact, immediacy and relevance of your story. In some cases, your news may have an impact on a wider marketplace and editorial audience than the sphere of influence of a trade magazine. Examples would be a merger, an acquisition or an initial public offering. Such news must be immediately disseminated. The best avenues may be: a national newspaper such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal or USA Today; a national wire service, such as The Associated Press or Reuters; a business wire such as Dow Jones or Bloomberg; a business magazine like Business Week or Industry Week; or even a national news magazine such as Time, Newsweek or U.S. News & World Report.

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