As a marketer, I’m always looking to learn new techniques and repeat tactics that work. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Simone Stover of the Albuquerque Journal to discuss our start-up division, Hometown Reads. She featured our site in a digital article that also showed up in the Sunday edition of the paper.
While I have no way of proving that it’s the print exposure, rather than the digital article, that made a difference, within a week of the publication of her article, we saw an increase of authors listed in Albuquerque of nearly 500%, seeing more than 50 authors add their books to the site after the article’s publication. We saw similar growth after a print article in the Kansas City Star last summer. Other digital only articles have not created the same results.
Print is powerful. People read, and are influenced by what they read, in print publications. While I work to convince our clients of the importance of an online footprint, I am convinced, more than ever, that seeking exposure in print publications is valuable, necessary, and effective. And though getting exposure in national publications may be nearly impossible for all but celebrities, well-placed print articles in a local newspaper may be even more valuable to a thought leader looking to gain publicity in a specific region.
Here are a few principles to consider if you are looking to create greater awareness for your idea, product, or book through gaining print coverage.
Make your pitch relevant to local or regional print publications. What angle do you have that ties your idea or product to the region or location in which you’d like to get exposure? Make the local connection clearly evident in your pitch or press release. Each local press release we send includes quotes from and a list of local authors: a immediate relevance to the publication. Help the journalist you are pitching understand why your story matters to their local readers.
Be as helpful as possible. Our team sent graphic assets to Stover, the journalist at the Albuquerque Journal. As a result, our branded logos showed up in print and online.We also sent quotes from authors, which Stover included in her article. The easier you make it for a journalist to craft their story, the more likely you will gain the exposure you hope for.
Plan to customize and send your release at different times to different locations. Sending to various locations will give you the opportunity to adjust your pitch if it’s not returning the results you want. Be sure to have a local tie-in for each location-based pitch., and be prepared that not every press release will result in a print article. We’ve launched nearly 60 locations for Hometown Reads and have had only a few significant print pick-ups.
Be persistent. At various times, I’ve considered scrapping our approach of sending a press release with every new city launch at Hometown Reads. I’ve decided that even though not every release results in print or digital coverage, the great advantage we gain with each placement makes the risk and investment worthwhile.
Find a partner. While you may be able to search for contact information of journalists through Google or other online channels, partnering with a PR firm to send email based press releases to local publications may save you significant time and increase your chances for success in landing the media coverage you desire. PR firms invest in media databases that you may not be able to access without incurring significant costs. Be sure to get clarity about what you are buying and what possible results you can expect.