How To Get $1,000 Worth of Advertising for $60
by Jeffrey Dobkin
Sixty dollars doesn't go a long way in buying advertising space. But if you spend that creatively, you can get over ten times that value in newspaper or magazine lineage. And it's easy if you know how.
You're familiar with press releases, right? A press release is a single page of information about your product or service that is sent to a magazine or a newspaper. If selected to be published, it's printed as a short story, and appears as if the magazine or newspaper wrote it.
There is no charge for having your press release published by a magazine or newspaper.
So stick around—find out how you can have your press release publishedand your chances are pretty goodeven if you can't write worth a hockey puck.
There are certain criteria for having your press release published, no matter who writes it. First, it can't sound like an ad for your product or service. Nope, no adjectives. If it sounds like an ad, it'll be tossed out. While most editors will make minor corrections so a press release will fit their editorial style, few to none will rewrite your release just to get it in. Editors get their choice of press releases every day, and the ones that catch their eye for publishing are the ones closest to their exact needsrequiring the least amount of editing and rewriting. Most editors know a good thing when they see it.
Second, your press release must conform to the standard layout style of press releases. This tells the editor that you know what you're doing in media relations, and hopefully your everyday business practices follow suit. So when your release is published, editors will be comfortable with the knowledge their readers will get good literature, andif they ordera good product. They assume their readers will deal with a professional company on a professional level. If your press release lands on their desk with lots of typos and misspellings, it'll land in the trash next.
Correct layout style means a big header stating "Press Release" at the top, followed by a contact name and phone number, so editors can get more information. Next it needs a kill date, after which the press release shouldn't run. If there is no kill date, state "No kill date" so it doesn't look like you forgot. Also, don't forget to include a 5" x 7" black-and-white photo for increased interest, better readership, and more credibility.
The headline of your release is centered and in bold. Write your headline with care; it's this line that will make or break your release. If it's a great headline, people will read it and the rest of the release. If it's a poor headline, people will read it and the other articles in the magazine. It's your choice. My recommendation? The Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule: Write 100 headlines, then go back and pick your very best one.
The body of the release follows. Double space, allowing an editor to easily make corrections between the lines. Leave room around the margins, too. Make it look easy to read, even if it isn't. Write in a newspaper style of writingshort descriptive sentences without fluff or excess verbiage. Use a pyramid style of writingthe most important parts in the first paragraph or twobecause editors know to cut from the bottom.
Terse, concise writing just like a reporter from a newspaper would write works best. Holy smokes! Did I just say "just like a reporter from a newspaper would write"? What an idea!
How's this: Suppose you aren't a strong writer, or you're too busy with other activities to write your own release. What do you do? Call the local newspaper and ask to speak with a reporter. Now, I don't know about your area, but newspaper reporters here in Philadelphia don't usually make all the money they'd like. When you get a reporter on the phone, ask if they know of any reporters who'd like an additional easy writing assignment and would consider writing a press releasefor pay. Chances are better than good that the same reporter you're speaking with will go for the chance at easy money. If not, they'll recommend an associate on staff.
Go over your product information with the reporter, and add enough of a benefit summary so they can write a quality release. Ask them to recommend several different angles and what they think their very best pitch would be. Then ask what their hourly rate is (usually about $20/hour). Your release should take about two to three hours of writing time, if thatand should cost $60.
Now for the best part. Your reporter should submit your release to the editor for you. What happens then? The paper's own reporter writes a press releasein the newspaper's exact style of writingand then hands it to the editor with his own personal recommendation. Nice package.
So without writing a stitch, you get the release written, then handed over to the editor on a silver platter by a trusted staff member. Your chances of getting it published are... you guessed it. When it's printed, you just received $1,000 worth of advertising for $60. As promised.
Jeffrey Dobkin, author of How To Market A Product For Under $500!, and Uncommon Marketing Techniques, is a speaker and a specialist in direct response copywriting. He writes powerful, response-driven sales letters, TV commercials and scripts; persuasive catalog copy; and exceptionally hard working direct mail packages. He also analyzes direct marketing packages, ads, catalogs, and campaigns. With 25 years experience in direct response, Mr. Dobkin is also a marketing consultant, whatever that is. Call him directly at 610-642-1000 for free samples of his work. Or visit www.dobkin.com for additional articles.