Q: I recently sent press releases to several editors of publications and producers of radio and TV programs, but nothing was ever published or aired. What more can I do with that one press release or bit of newsworthy information from our company?

A: A lot of times we hope to gain PR for our business because it involves no cost or cash outlay. The pundits, experts and professionals always tell us to start with a press release and then follow up with specific editors of specific publications. This sounds good, but we have all experienced a targeted press release campaign with little or no results. We get discouraged, say that the publicity campaign didn't work and abandon further efforts. Sound familiar? At least there are ways to improve your results, such as by getting more mileage out of a single press release.

Finding a newsworthy angle for the information you want publicized is a key to getting in print. But beware: What you think is news may not be news to an editor. Put yourself in the editor's shoes. Put yourself in the reader's shoes. This will help with your angle and newsworthiness.

Press releases can also have a synergistic effect. Sending out one press release may or may not get published. Sending a follow-up press release on the same news with a different angle and attaching the original press release can increase the probability of getting published by more than twofold.

A good example is the local printing company that offered free business cards to the company that chose to relocate to the city where the printing company was located. One press release about this incentive yielded two articles--small paragraphs hidden on back pages of local suburban weeklies. Once the relocating company chose the city where the printing company resided, a second press release was sent, tying the choice to the earlier communicated incentive. The first press release was also attached. The end result? Stories placed in eight newspapers and on one radio station, as well as a PR bonanza, all from sending just two press releases. The follow-up plan definitely yielded significant PR results. Following up an original story with another newsworthy angle increased the PR and the ensuing results for the printing company. There are many more examples like this, but the key is always follow-up.

Besides follow-up, there are other things that can be done to make PR more efficient with even more results. The following are just a few more ideas:

  • Post press releases on your Web site.
  • Send a copy of a press release with a letter letting customers and prospects know what is going on in your company.
  • Include a press release as part of a sales kit/presentation folder.
  • Use a press release that's been published as grounds for a letter to the editor.
  • Attach to a follow-up press release.
  • Include a link to a press release published online in any e-mail correspondence.
  • Include the same link in your e-mail signature.
  • Put the press release in a frame and display it in your place of business.
  • Include the press release in any sales correspondence with prospects and customers.

These are just a few ideas. But it's easy to see that even when your campaign doesn't catch the attention of editors or producers, there's always more marketing that can be done with a single press release.

Alfred J. Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant, direct-mail promotion specialist, principle of marketing consulting firm Marketing Now, and president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit his Web sites at http://www.market-for-profits.com and http://www.1-800-inkwell.com, or e-mail him at al@market-for-profits.com.


The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.