The Secret Formula for Generating Crazy Amounts of PR.


This is an ironic title since this blog is, in fact, a press hit that will
go into our ever growing press kit. That kit that has more than 1,000
articles in it from the past couple of years (check out:, which works out to more than one
article every day! So what's the trick? Well here are five simple tips:

1. DO NOT HIRE A PR FIRM: This is the golden rule in my opinion for one
simple reason: PR firms are mostly in the business of getting a monthly
retainer and less in the business of getting you press. If they were really in
the business of getting you press, they would charge per article produced
with say a formula that was something like: "amount of space/time given
to your story" x "angle taken" x "value of that space" x "percentage
commission" = fee to PR firm. I have yet to find a PR firm that didn't
hang up the phone on me after I asked them to do that. Also, journalists -- according to my friends who are journalists -- strongly prefer to talk with the business
owners or someone from the company instead of with an outside consultant.

2. A PRESS RELEASE IS THE STORY: Many journalists are overworked, and if
you can give them a prepackaged story, you're golden. Most press releases
are boring, long, and not really the story. A killer press release is one
that the publisher can print word for word (with quotes and photos) if it chooses. Oh yeah, and it's all about the headline! The headline will make or break your

3. WORK THE PHONES, NOT THE WIRE: Most people, once they've written their
press release, feed it into the news wire and think their job is done
because their story is just so good. But if you really want PR, you need to
call, e-mail, and keep calling the papers, magazines, TV shows, etc., that
you want to reach. Writers get hundreds of e-mails a day
and may not read your press release. So you have to call and get them on
the phone. Once you're on the phone, you have to care about the story and
be passionate about it in order to make them care. Also, research the writer before
you call. If you're asking writers to invest time in a story about your idea, you have to
invest a little in them.

4. LOCAL PAPERS: Did you know that there are more than 10,000 small local
papers across America. The staff size in these papers is tiny! They cannot get enough local content since they don't have enough people to cover the local baseball game or the bake sale at the local school. Instead, they often publish wire copy from the news services. Most businesses have hundreds of local story opportunities. For example, when we launch a product at a retailer, we draft local press releases for each of the retailers' stores. Then we call the local paper in that area and tell it how a local store is carrying a cool new product -- a product we deeply believe in -- and voila! There is a great chance that an article will be written. Here's an example:

5. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR STORY IS INTERESTING, SEXY AND FUN: All of the above is pointless unless your story is interesting, sexy, and fun. And the person making the call has to care about it and can't sound like a lame telemarketer. Now, you may be saying to yourself: "My company isn't all that cool. I work in a gray office, a cubicle farm, and I'm launching a jump-to-conclusions doormat." Well, how about this title
for your press release: "From gray dread to a million bucks. Seeing this
company, you would have jumped to the wrong conclusion."


Last updated: Mar 25, 2008

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