When should I send out my press release?
There are different times to consider when to issue releases depending on:
A Long lead (a few months out) release offers general information about what you are doing – what it is and when – along with an attractive image. Think about all those New Year event guides promoting what’s coming up in the new year. That’s where you want to be.
A Short lead (a couple months out) release gives more specific details which promote an angle of interest to journalists about your work – something that goes beyond the fact your work will be performed. This is the time to also send more images.
What about giving a journalist an exclusive story. How does that work?
You might be thinking of issuing an embargo (read more about them here) which is an agreement between you and a journalist that you will grant him/her a sneak peek at an announcement in advance of the actual press release. In exchange, s/he will agree to hold the story until the scheduled date and time of the release itself. If you are just getting started building your presence in the press and are still building relationships with journalist, avoid embargoed material altogether and just focus on timing the release, blogs, and associated promotional content.
What if my budget is too small to pay someone to create visual content?
That’s okay -- not all press coverage means you need to spend a lot of money on design. If you want to create different and interesting content consider using something like SlideShare, which allows you to use the tools in Power Point slides in an easy and shareable manner, to tell your story in a creative, out-of-the-box way.
My blog isn’t reaching a lot of people. Should I still create more content on my website?
Yes -- even if only your family and friends are reading it. Get them to share it! All of this will help you get more people looking at your content and increase with search traffic in the future. You can also look at creating a blog post for guest placement by another company or festival which might attract the attention of other people to what you are doing.
My press release isn’t getting attention. What should I do?!
A press release is only one tactic in your overall promotion plan. You have your blog, your social media content and your creative content that has been created to promote your work. For additional opportunities that might fit your narrative research the online news sites which publish articles not written by their journalists or a free resource which helps journalists source stories and set up Twitter alerts to identify relevant conversations around your work. No harm to also connect with a local journalist over a coffee to ask for advice and feedback on what and how you have been pitching.
How do I set expectations around PR?
The important thing to remember is marketing is guaranteed when you pay for it whereas press coverage depends on factors that are often out of your control (i.e.: a big news story hits and there is no longer space for your review / picture). This is often an exercise in what truly merits front page news and what doesn’t. Where possible you want to pitch different angles that are relevant to a broad group of people – find a topic of conversation in your work which speaks to and resonates with society at large. Remember, editors want to see their articles in their paper read online and shared (they also want to consistently get their name out too!).