GET FREE PUBLICITY EZINE
August 8, 2002
Published by The
George McKenzie, Editor
See the bottom of this newsletter for
Here are the headlines (also known in the news biz as
*** Are you passing up easy opportunities for free
advertising and publicity by making yourself "invisible" to
*** Antics with semantics? Is a press release the same
thing as a media kit? What's the difference between an
"informational" press release and an "invitational" press
release. You'd better know if you hope to get the media's
*** Which would you prefer: buying advertising for your
website, or getting your local news media to promote it for
you -- free? See below for a link to our "Press Release
Critique of the Week" to see how Joe Gross got thousands of
dollars worth of free coverage for his new site.
FREE MARKETING EBOOK - "Six Deadly Small Business Marketing
Mistakes (and How to Fix Them!)"
Quick Media Marketing Tip:
Don't Make Yourself Invisible
By George McKenzie
How can the media possibly give you free advertising or
publicity if they can't find you when THEY need to.
You'd be amazed at how many people ONLY put contact
information for BUSINESS HOURS on their news release--even
if their event takes place during NON-BUSINESS HOURS.
If someone wants to find you, but they don't have cell
phone, pager, or e-mail information--guess who loses out on
a chance to get free publicity? You.
The other pet peeve among media decision-makers: when they
have to search your web site with a magnifying glass to find
a phone number or an email address.
"Some people put everything but their baby pictures on their
home page," one assignment editor told me. "But they bury
their phone number and e-mail address. It might as well be
Hard truth is...if a reporter, producer, or assignment
editor needs more than a few seconds to find your contact
info--they probably won't bother...
For more quick but powerful media marketing tips, get
our "Going Public" Fast Track audio cassette.
It's a full hour of bits and bites with veteran broadcasters
and editors who give you the "scoop" on how to get free
publicity that's more believable, powerful, productive, and
profitable than any advertising you can buy at any price.
Advanced Media Marketing Article:
Is A News Release The Same As A Media Kit?
By George McKenzie
People often mistakenly use the word press release when they
mean "media kit."
They're actually very different in nature, even though their
ultimate purpose is the same: to persuade the media to give
you publicity. Here are some thumbnail definitions.
Press Release: A press or "news" release is an
announcement, or a summary of information related to an
A press release implies the question "Did you know that
_________?" It then proceeds to fill in the blank.
There are several different kinds of press releases, but
only two are relevant here. And oh-by-the-way, these are
terms Iíve made up, so you shouldnít think of them as
Informational Press Release: Informational press releases
amount to a simple recitation of facts. The writer
presupposes the media is already interested in the event or
story, and is simply providing the journalistic basics: who,
what, when, where, why, and how.
Informational press releases are handed out en masse at
press conferences. They might even be faxed or emailed to
reporters who couldnít attend a news conference themselves
because they were busy covering another story.
Most large companies post informational news releases on
For the most part, informational news releases are designed
to give the media the background they need to fill in the
necessary (or possibly even unnecessary) facts for their
readers, listeners, or viewers.
They can be single-spaced, in block paragraph form, with a
small headline and the organizationís letterhead plastered
all over them. Format doesnít matter much because you donít
have to "hook" the mediaís attention: itís presumed you
already have it. And youíre not trying to persuade them to
act on the information by providing coverage.
Invitational Press Release: As the name implies, youíre
inviting the media to take some kind of action on the
information provided in the release.
Sometimes youíll also see or hear the phrase "request for
coverage" or "RFC" on news releases of this type.
The purpose of an invitational news release is to motivate
the media to take action and give you free airtime on their
radio or TV station, or column inches in their publication.
Make no mistake about it. IT IS A SALES PITCH, and
therefore the rules are very different from an informational
news release. See my article, "Punching The Media's Hot
Buttons" in the July 25th edition of this ezine for details.
The article is also available on the "Back Issues" page of
our website at
Sadly, many people who should be sending "invitational"
press releases format them more like the "informational"
variety. And then they wonder what happened when no one
shows any interest.
Okay, so what is a media kit then?
A media kit is more like an information supplement for media
people. It CAN accompany a news release as part of an
appeal for coverage, but itís not intended to sell the media
person on giving you coverage immediately. Itís more to
provide background information on a person, company or
event, and to make the media personís job easier by
providing them with most of what they need for their story.
They donít have to research the subject themselves. Itís
all there in front of them, provided by the person who wants
A expanded bio is okay for a media kit. Company history is
good. Information about credentials, awards, other media
coverage youíve gotten, etc. All these things are fine for a
But one big tip here, and this is based on my own personal
NEVER put a news release INSIDE the folder of a media kit.
It could easily be overlooked. Make sure the news release
is separate and creates attention of its own.
Media kits can also be designed to be put in a file for use
later. This is especially true in the case of anyone who
wants to promote themselves as an authority or an expert on
a subject the media might be interested in someday.
How fancy should a media kit be? Should you spend a lot of
money on it in an effort to impress journalists?
Good Questions, and I'll answer them in the August 22nd
edition of this ezine.
Joan Stewart has authored a series of 39 "Special Reports"
that are a "must have" for anyone seeking free publicity
from the media. These reports are single-spaced, at least
five pages long, and go into incredible depth on each
topic. $7.00 each. Learn more by going to
Press Release "Critique of the Week:"
In every issue, we'll offer you a lengthy evaluation of a
genuine news release that was recently sent to a working
We'll look at it the ways a media decision maker would,
using the following criteria (among others)
The Instant Eyeball Test: What's the overall "look" of the
release? You'd be amazed at how important this is.
The Headline Test: Does it make the reader want to keep
going to find out more about the story?
The Hot Button Test: Does it legitimately offer
information people need to know or would like to know?
This week we'll look at a release I actually wrote for a
friend about a year ago. It immediately generated one TV
story about him and two radio interviews. Since then, he has
enjoyed the benefit several "follow-ups" from the same
For this week's critique, go to:
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FREE ARTICLES FOR YOUR PUBLICATIONS
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articles that you see in this ezine. Back issues
can be viewed at
GET FREE PUBLICITY
August 8, 2002
Editor: George McKenzie
Copyright 2002 by George McKenzie
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