Using the media to your advantage

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Using the media to your advantage

  1. 1. Sutton University: Sales and Marketing Using the Media to your Advantage Advertising can be a great advantage in helping you grow your business but it can also be a significant operating expense for most sales associates. The good news is that there are methods at your disposal for creating opportunities to receive free advertising! Did you know that independent coverage by media outlets such as newspapers, television, radio, and even Internet sites can be a great way to get free coverage for your charitable events? In turn, you and your office will also receive free promotion! So how do you tap into this source of promotion? Journalists obtain some of their story leads from press releases which arrive at their desks. Writing a press release that grabs the attention of an editor takes some finesse, and Sutton is happy to assist you. Simply submit the details outlined below to stories@suttonspirit.com and our professional writers will create a press release that will help to generate interest in your event and promote your involvement. Here are some tips to think about when sending us your story’s information: In order to increase the chances of a media outlet picking up your story, consider the event from a journalist’s perspective. Ask yourself whether readers/listeners will find your story interesting. If your event is focused on your or your office, the public (and the media) may not find it newsworthy. Sutton Spirit events that benefit the community and have an interesting human interest angle are the most successful. Whether you choose to submit information to Sutton Spirit for a press release or decide to write your own, here are some helpful tips on how to submit a press release, keep the following points in mind: • Press release headlines should be informative including details such as where and when the event is happening and who are the beneficiaries. Events that benefit the community and have a human interest angle tend to arouse more interest. • Briefly describe the reason for your involvement in the event (e.g. a child needs a new wheelchair, you play guitar and volunteered your time to play at a benefit concert). • The opening sentence and the first paragraph should tell the reader what the story is about (put the most interesting details first because most journalists are too busy to read to the end of each release they receive). • Use short sentences and paragraphs • A one-page press release is preferable. • Include your telephone number, email address, information about your organization, and one or two photographs.
  2. 2. Sutton University: Sales and Marketing Creating Media Contacts Once you have a newsworthy press release, send it to the local media. • Decide where you would like to see news of your event appear • Start building up a database of the names and addresses of these media outlets including the editors’ names, fax and telephone numbers, etc. • Find out who manages the pages that relate to your event. For example, if your story is about raising funds for a local Little League team, find out who edits the sports or community section. If your event is helping to support a local orchestra, find out who edits the Arts section. If you cannot reach the editor, knowing the main writer is also helpful. • Once you have these contacts, you can address your press release to a specific person, which increases the likelihood that it will be used for an article. Establishing Relationships with the Media A great press release with a compelling human interest angle is the most important criteria for getting your story into the media. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a good relationship with some key figures in your local media. Make a list of three or four key media outlets in your community and send them a press pack (including a one-page introduction about you and your Sutton office, good quality colour photos and a business card) when you send your first press release. If they decide to use your press release, the information in your press pack will help to save them research time. If you send your press release via fax, indicate that you would be happy to provide the electronic version if needed. Send a new press pack once a year to keep it up-to-date. Call your media contacts occasionally with tips on interesting article ideas. This is especially effective when the article ideas are not directly related to you or your work. Journalists are always looking for good article ideas and they are sure to appreciate and remember your tips. Get involved and discover how good it feels to put the Sutton Spirit into action in your community.

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