Why the press ignores your products – maybe.

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Why the press ignores your products - maybe.

I’ve spent much of the past five or six weeks trying to climb a mountain of press releases. I know in my very first MIN column I berated some in the industry for not sending enough press releases (or even any at all, in some cases!) but come NAMM-time, even some of the worst offenders decide it’s time to finally put pen to paper. And even when they do they frequently get it wrong.

So, what do you have to do to get your products mentioned in the press? As the number of retailers directly importing products continues to grow, this doesn’t just apply to distributors but to shops as well, so here are ten tips that might help you get your share of that all too rare a commodity – free publicity!

1/ Who do I send it to? Most magazines and online publications have an address on their website for emails. If in doubt, send it to the Editor – NOT to the advertising manager. You will be hearing from him soon enough…

2/ If yours is a press release designed to appeal to the trade, write it appropriately. If you are trying to persuade retailers to stock your product, tell them why – talk about margins, prices, quality, why it is different and will sell like hot cakes, what you are doing to promote the product to end users. In other words, stress the things that will make the products attractive to a reseller.
3/ If you want to send a story to the consumer press, write a separate one, stressing the angles that will appeal to an end-user.
4/ PDFs are the work of the devil! Journalists work under pressure and often need to cut and paste at least some of your deathless prose for re-use. PDFs at best slow that down – at worst they can make it impossible. They can also be a nightmare to extract pictures from, so however much they appeal to your inner design maven, don’t use them!
5/ Send good quality pictures as medium sized JPEGs and send your copy as a Microsoft Word file. Everyone can access both of those formats. Never send images taken on your phone, however good you think it is.
6/ Don’t fill your press release with superlatives. You may honestly believe the £100 Chinese guitar you are flogging has a ‘silky smooth neck with frets hand-inlaid by angels’ and ‘sounds like a 1937 Martin’ but any journalist worth his salt will simply cut that stuff out. Save him the job.
7/ Keep it short, simple and to the point. The easier you make your story to use, the more likely it is that it will be.
8/ If you are stuck or need help, find out who the editor is and call him or her to discuss what you are trying to do. Surprisingly few of them bite. Much.
9/ Timing matters. When Frankfurt or NAMM are looming, most publications are snowed under with press releases. A month later there’s a news drought…

10/ If you have an angle – a famous user, a novel way of funding a project, anything that will enhance the X launches Y angle – then mention it.

If you stick to the above you won’t go far wrong with most publications.

And if the above sounds like something you don’t have time for, as I’ve said, before, hire a tame hack to do it for you. He or she will know exactly what is needed and will probably work, like most monkeys, for peanuts. I should know…