Alison was an absolute pleasure to work with and I was thrilled to see that there were two pages in the NWN's Out and About supplement yesterday. The journalist wrote a first person piece about his experience at a recent "learn to dance in a day" event which really captured Alison's fun side.
There were some things that Alison did that make life so much easier for a journalist, and that really helped her to get some positive coverage. While most are obvious, not everyone does them and it's something to think about if you're about to "sell in" your press release.
1. Provide as much information as possible.
Alison was happy to provide the basics; her age, a headshot and information about her background. The more information you can provide, the better. Having all the relevant information to hand means that busy journalists are more likely to use your story. And the more information they have, the more interesting the piece is. Not everyone does this though; when I was a journalist, I was once contacted by a businesswoman who wanted a piece about her business but wouldn't tell me her first name and insisted I call her "Mrs"....
Additionally, when the journalist had a question, Alison got the additional information to him as quickly as possible.
2. Invite the journalist to try it.
I suggested she invited journalists to come and take part in her dance day - after all, the best way to write about something is to experience it for yourself. This led to a piece that really shone a light on Alison's passion for dance and her ability to make learning enjoyable. Could you invite a journalist to test out your product or service for themselves?
3. A news hook
We timed our release on dance to coincide with Strictly Come Dancing, as well as the forthcoming Christmas party season. Have a look through the calendar to see if there's something happening to make journalists take an interest in what you have to say.
4. Case studies
Have you got a happy customer? Then they are better placed to tell your story, as they're impartial and can blow your trumpet for you! Alison provided a number of past and current clients who provided a few quotes for our press release on how she had transformed their wedding dance.
5. Human interest
Every story should be about PEOPLE. Alison was able to provide a lovely human interest element in her press release; after all, everyone loves dancing and weddings. She really thought about the impact that dancing has on people, the joy it brings, the togetherness and the feel-good factor of putting together a routine.
The bonus sixth thing she did of course, was to ask someone else to write it. While you might want to write your release yourself, always ask someone else to check it for sense and for grammar, as you'd be astonished as to the errors that you don't spot when you've written it yourself!