Magazine article Politics Magazine

Give Your Press Releases Some Juice

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Give Your Press Releases Some Juice

Article excerpt

Q: Nobody, and I mean nobody, is covering our press releases. We're only sending out one a week, so it's not excessive. What should we do differently?

A: Just like campaign staffers, reporters get hundreds of emails and often, despite the best intentions, don't have the time to read them. That's why the traditional news release (two pages with attachments) is going the way of the pterodactyl. (Dead dinosaurs don't fly.) It's also why you need to use social media to promote your stories. As an associate tweeted in four separate messages capturing reporters' advice at a recent PR conference: "Getting message to media: email (no attachments), phone call, texts, DM, relationships ... small papers, they need photos; don't want to link to external website ... TV reporter, watches Facebook and Twitter for experts on issues related to breaking news ... twitter is the new police scanner for news desks."

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Q: How do I go about getting on the ballot?

A: Contact the secretary of state's office or relevant election office in your state for more information. The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) provides links by state to these officials at http://nass.org/index.php?option=contact_display. And if you still have questions, consult an election attorney or contact your local party organization. Even though it's for federal candidates, be sure to also review the "Candidate Registration Toolkit" provided by the Federal Election Commission. It will empower you to ask more informed questions when talking to your local election office, attorney or party representative.

Q: I am a candidate for a legislative office and would like to get an interview with a local magazine. What's the best approach, and how should I prepare?

A: It depends on whether the magazine employs staff writers or relies on freelancers. If the publication relies on staff, contact the writer who writes profiles or covers politics and local news. If the magazine does rely on freelance writers, contact the editors. The challenge will be finding an angle that would interest the publication's readership. Tailor the angle to the magazine. For example, "Local businessperson runs for office" works for a business publication, "Community organizer runs," for a neighborhood-oriented publication, etc. As for prep, read a bunch of back issues. Google the writers. And this is a big one--find a human-interest angle that makes you more interesting than just a self-interested candidate looking for another media hit. …

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