I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Promotional articles

I admit that with my blog and a lot of client work, I haven’t written as many promotional articles recently as I used to, but I still think they are a valuable way to promote your business very cheaply.

I have done little to market my website online, yet it ranks quite well because I have so much content on there and many sites link to or use my promotional articles on their site.

Melissa has also had positive experiences with article marketing – she got radio coverage from an article she wrote 5 years ago! I also was approached by a major TV show about one of my articles, so it is amazing what can happen from a simple article!

What specific results have you gained through article marketing?

P.S. As part of my promotional articles presentation this weekend, I prepared some notes for the conference handbook. I believe that copies of the handbook will be available afterwards from the workshop notes section of the Business Mums Guides site if you would like my tips on writing and using articles, plus notes from many other speakers.

Timing a media release

A media release is generally an announcement of something you consider newsworthy enough the media may tell your story. So when do you tell the media?

There is no simple answer, but there are some guidelines depending on what type of release you are sending out.

If your release is announcing something that has happened (e.g. “we won an award”)

  • send it out ASAP

If your release is about an upcoming event (e.g. “our school fete is on the 9th May”)

  • don’t send it until you know all the important facts (especially dates, times and place, or the name, address and URL of a new business)
  • send it early enough for the media to use it. For example, if the local paper is printed on Tuesday don’t send the release on the Tuesday afternoon immediately before the event. Note that some media outlets have a much longer lead time than others – some magazines need things months in advance. Likewise, consider their time requirements before sending it too early – a local paper or website doesn’t need to know about a small event 3 months in advance, they’ll just forget it if you tell them too soon!
  • include a release date. That is, at the top of the media release, write “Not to be released until 1 June 2008” or similar so the media know it is advance warning

In addition, if your release is about the launch of a new website

  • don’t send the release until there is something on the website! Sending the media to  ‘coming soon’ page won’t impress them and it is less likely that they will publish your story. The site doesn’t have to be complete, but have a welcome page that introduces the business/site, some contact details and has a look that complements the final look – this is much more professional and enticing. If the site is near completion, you may even send the media a link that shows them what the site will look like even if it isn’t yet available at the final URL

If your release isn’t time critical, then you can send it at any time of course! But I would question its newsworthiness if it really has no time frame attached..

The timing doesn’t have to be hard – just use a little common sense really.

Happy writing!


Who reads a media release?

Unlike a lot of business writing I do, media releases are not written for the end user.

What does that mean? Well, usually if I write some webcopy, an article or a flyer, I write it in a way that appeals to the consumer of that business. So I would write words to the effect of ‘this will solve your problem’.

With a media release, I am writing to a journalist or other media person who may or may not be part of the business’ target audience. Of course, I am writing to the journalist but in a way that will appeal to their readers/viewers/listeners. So it is usually written in the third person such as ‘this will solve the problem for your readers’

Aiming a media release at your target market won’t work; it needs to catch a journalist’s attention and then be used as the basis of their article. Think of it this way – if you read a company’s website or flyer, you expect them to use ‘you’, ‘your’, and so forth; when you read a newspaper article, it will be one step removed and will not refer to ‘you’ at all.

Media release stories

Writing a media release for your own business is quite possible, or you may want to get a professional writer/PR or marketing person to do it for you.news for newspapers

The key part to any release, however, is the story in the release. It must be newsworthy if it is to gain any interest or publicity. And it must be newsworthy for the media outlet you are sending it to – an article about an innovative tractor part would be newsworthy in an agricultural magazine but not so much in a women’s fashion magazine.

With a bit of spin or a changed perspective, many stories can be made more interesting than they first appear, but a journalist still has to get an article out of the story for them to follow up the release.

I have seen instances where the interest of the story, its newsworthiness, is listed as the be all and end all of a media release. But there is one other important factor in a successful media release.

The story in your release must be relevant to your business if it is to benefit your business. So you could write a release about that great tractor part, grab the attention of a journalist and see the part get some publicity. How does that help you if you sell shoes or books? Of course, if you sell food and can add “This new tractor part means we harvest sooner so your food is fresher” or if you are a web designer and can add “Since we redesigned their site, this tractor part has sold millions” it has relevance.

So before starting a media release, you need to ask yourself:

Will this story interest a number of people?

Is there a media outlet that will reach those interested people?

Is this story relevant to my business?

If they are all ‘yes’, get writing!