musician spends years honing his
craft. He writes world-class songs
and performs them in a manner that
moves his listeners to tears. He
records a demo tape and sends it
to record labels. He gets a
contract and becomes rich, famous
The lesson: demo tapes are the
secret of becoming a famous
Wait, you say, the demo tape was
just a tool, just his way of
conveying his talent. It's his
ability as a musician that got him
the contract and made him famous.
right, of course. He could have
become just as famous if a record
executive saw him in person, or
heard about him from a friend, or
as a result of a variety of other
brings us to the press release.
Somehow, the press release has
taken on a magical reputation as
the alpha and omega of publicity.
Wanna become rich? Send out a
press release. Wanna become
famous? Press release. Wanna get
on the cover of Newsweek? Press
Publicity "gurus" are
springing up all over the Internet
touting the press release as the
answer to all marketing ills.
Just knock out a release, mass
e-mail it to journalists, sit back
and wait for Oprah to call.
It's a cruel joke.
Here's the reality: the press
release is no more important to
your potential of scoring free
publicity than the demo tape was
to our musician friend. If
he had no talent, if his songs
sounded like garbage, the best
recorded demo tape in the world
wouldn't get him signed.
Ditto for the publicity seeker.
If you don't have a story to tell,
your press release is utterly
I'm not knocking the press release
-- it's an important tool. But
it's just that: a tool. It's
not the first thing you need to
think about when it comes time to
seek publicity. In fact,
it's one of the last. And
it's not even absolutely necessary
(I've gotten plenty of publicity
with just a pitch letter, a quick
e- mail or a phone call).
If you worship at the shrine of
the press release, it's time to
rearrange your priorities.
Here, then, are the things that
are MORE important than a press
release in generating publicity:
1. A newsworthy story.
This is the equivalent of our
musician's talent. It's the
very basis for your publicity
efforts. Without it, your
press release means nothing.
To learn about how to develop a
newsworthy story, take a look at http://publicityinsider.com/questions.asp
and scroll down to "Is my
2. Learning to think like an
editor. Oh, what an edge
you'll have in scoring publicity
over all those press release
worshippers once you learn how to
get inside the head of an editor.
Give an editor what he wants in
the way he wants it and you'll do
great. I've got an entire
article on the subject at http://publicityinsider.com/freesecret.asp
Go there now and absorb it all.
Trust me, it will make a world of
3. Relevance. Tie in with
a news event, make yourself part
of a trend, piggyback on a larger
competitor's story, but, by all
means, make your story part of a
picture that's bigger than just
your company. Stories that
exist in a vacuum quickly run out
Sending out a press release and
waiting for results is lazy and
ineffective. If you really
believe in your story, and you
believe that it's right for a
particular media outlet, you need
to fight to make it happen.
Call or e-mail the editor to pitch
your story BEFORE sending the
release. If one editor says
no, try somebody else. If
they all say no, come back at them
with a different story angle.
Getting publicity involves so much
more than just sending out a press
release. Treat it as
seriously and with as much respect
as our newly minted rock star
treats his craft and you'll be
well on your way to success.
Stoller is the founder and
publisher of Free Publicity,
The Newsletter For PR Hungry
Businesses. A twenty
year public relations veteran,
Bill teaches entrepreneurs and
small businesses how achieve
maximum publicity with minimal
investment. For free articles,
tips and insider secrets about
getting publicity, visit Bill's
home on the web at http://www.publicityinsider.com
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