By Jeffrey Dobkin
Everyone’s PR Campaign – Yours Too! A 16-Point Outline
So an entrepreneur calls up and says “I have no budget for marketing what do you recommend?”
I gave him the name and cell phone number of my competitor.
Then I started to think about it. No Budget, no problem, here’s what you need to do. Lots of money, no problem: here’s what I can do for you. Every PR campaign starts out this exact same way. And yea, this works for every firm and yours too. This is absolutely an effective PR plan for products or services.
My recommended initial outline of steps for a comprehensive PR plan:
1. Look up the markets… for your particular products or services, and analyze the media (the books, papers, newsletters and magazines) sent to each of those industries.
This is necessary research. Overview and review of all the retail and wholesale publications where your product can possibly be sold, and rank markets and media according to “most likely” sales.
You can do this yourself at the library in directories such as Cision Directory of Magazines (formerly known and loved for years as Bacon’s Media Directories, is now Cision. Online at Cision.com, phone 866.639.5087), or Oxbridge Communications Directory of Periodicals (online at MediaFinder.com, Phone 800-955-0231). You can find magazines and markets online if your subscribe to their services.
How long will this take? Time depends on the depth of research, dictated by the number of markets you would like to enter; plus it also depends on your budget. The more budget, the deeper the research, the less budget, we skim off the best looking top markets and start there – although this can be more of a crapshoot.
2. Compile a list… of all magazines in each market classification serving the industries selected. Store in database. Yes, that means type in a database the name of every editor, magazine, column of interest, address, phone, market & circulation. Yea, it’s tedious. Lemme know if you have a better, faster or cheaper way.
3. A) Call and get the media kit… for all magazines considered for advertising. Get sample copies, and don’t let them give you the crap about how you can find them online. Get the real paper and ink magazines.
B) Scan them for similar ads and content.
C) Rank them according to desirability and likelihood of potential sales.
4. Write a press release strategy… This should be created up front for a 6 month to one year campaign to best utilize the press in your favor. This means writing 6 to 10 GREAT headlines of what the releases will be about, and when you will send releases. You can write the release later, the headlines will do for now.
5. Write wholesale and retail press releases… and modify them slightly for each classification. Retail releases stress product benefits, wholesale releases stress high dealer profit, quick turnover, fast sales and few returns.
6. Write cover letters… personalized and tailored to each editor and magazine
The cover letter should contain additional benefits and selling points that wouldn’t fit well in the release.
The editor then has the option to place these additional benefits and features in the story.
7. Write a press release… specifically tailored for each market.
For maximum coverage and the best chance of great PR placements: modify the style of your news release specifically to the editorial profile of each of the largest circulation magazines. In your cover letter to each magazine, mention the specific column title name you are writing your release to get placed in. This will increase the chance of getting your release published.
8. Create collateral material… – brochures, post cards, replay cards and faxback sheets the editors can use to request a free sample. In other words:
9. Create press kit… The objective of the press kit is to increase credibility. Higher levels of credibility increase media coverage. This kit may use collateral material you have on hand.
10. Offer samples… If you have a low cost item, include a sample with your release. If you’re unsure, offer a free sample to the editor on request. Make it as easy as possible for him or her to receive it: pre-fill out a reply post card saying “Yes, please send me a FREE sample!” with the editor’s name and address. If they order the sample and it’s of good quality, you have a 90% chance of getting coverage – celebrate early. Invite me over.
11. Final proof… You wouldn’t want to send anything out with a typo, would you?
12. And launch… Call each of the magazine editors, and in a short 2 minute pitch (see exactly what to say in the extensive PR chapter in my book, “How to Market A Product for Under $500”) get memorable attention. Send press releases and cover letters. Now you can have that beer. Grab one for me, too, wouldja?
13. Analyze results… Analyze media for best possible places to run ads. This includes receiving all the magazines, studying press objectives and PR placement results along with analyzing magazine content and looking for competing ads. Better research and deeper analyzation here will result in less wasted advertising space.
14. Schedule and place ads… in the media where press releases have successfully met your objectives and have consistently given you the best results.
15. Analyze results. Repeat… You didn’t think you were finished, did you? Fine tune each campaign with what you have learned from the previous launch. The ultimate objective is constantly increase your effectiveness: trim all ineffective expenses out and just use marketing dollars for what proves to work best.
16. If successful, be nice to the creator… Send me a bottle of Schramsburg Champaign… and buy my books… too. Hey, you got away cheap – some of my clients have spent a lot of money to watch me direct this same campaign. Just kidding – you don’t have to buy me champaign and my books. Just send the money…
Jeffrey Dobkin is a humorous and often motivational speaker on effective marketing and sales methods. He has written 5 books on marketing and two on humor. He also writes sales letters, PR, direct mail, advertising material and all kinds of effective highly responsive stuff for his clients! Call him directly at 610-642-1000.