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By: Jeffrey Dobkin
How To Get $1,000 Worth of Advertising for $60

Sixty dollars doesn't go a long way in
buying advertising space. But if you spend it
creatively, you can get over ten times that
value in newspaper or magazine lineage.
And it's easy if you know how. Here's how.

You're familiar with press releases, right?
A press release is a single page of
information about your product or service that
is sent to a magazine or a newspaper. If
selected to be published, it's printed as a
short story and appears as if the magazine
or newspaper wrote it. There is no charge for
having your press release published by a
magazine or newspaper.

So stick around - find out how you can
have your press release published (and your
chances are pretty good) even if you can't
write worth a hockey puck.

There are certain criteria for having your
press release published, no matter who
writes it. First, it can't sound like an ad for
your product or service. Nope, no adjectives.
If it sounds like an ad, it'll be tossed out.
While most editors will make minor
corrections so a press release will fit their
editorial style, few to none will rewrite your
release just to get it in. Editors get their
choice of press releases every day, and the
ones that catch their eye for publishing are
the ones closest to their exact needs -
requiring the least amount of editing and
rewriting. Most editors know a good thing
when they see it.

Second, your press release must conform
to the standard layout style of press
releases. This tells the editor that you know
what you're doing in media relations and
shows your everyday business practices
follow suit. So when your release is
published, editors will be comfortable with
the knowledge their readers will get good
literature and - if they order - a good product.
They can assume their readers will deal with
a professional company on a professional
level. If your press release lands on their
desk with lots of typos and misspellings, it'll
land in the trash next.

Correct layout style means a big header
stating "Press Release" at the top, followed
by a contact name and phone number so
editors can call for more information. Next it
needs a kill date after which the press
release shouldn't run. If there is no kill date,
state "No kill date" so it doesn't look like you
forgot it. Also, don't forget to include a 5" x 7"
black-and-white photo for increased interest,
better readership, and more credibility.

The headline of your release is centered
and in bold. Write your headline with care; it's
this line that will make or break your release.
If it's a great headline, people will read it and
the rest of the release. If it's a poor headline,
people will read it - and the other articles in
the magazine. It's your choice. My
recommendation? The Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1
rule: Write 100 headlines, then go back and
pick your very best one.

The body of the release follows. Double
space, allowing an editor to easily make
corrections between the lines. Leave room
around the margins, too. Make it look easy to
read, even if it isn't. Use short, descriptive
sentences without fluff or excess verbiage.
Use a pyramid style of writing - the most
important parts in the first paragraph or two -
because editors know to cut from the bottom.

Terse, concise writing just like a reporter
from a newspaper would write works best.
Holy smokes! Did I just say "just like a
reporter from a newspaper would write"?
What an idea!

How's this: suppose you aren't a strong
writer, or you're too busy with other activities
to write your own release. What do you do?
Call the local newspaper and ask to speak
with a reporter. Now, I don't know about your
area, but newspaper reporters here in
Philadelphia don't usually make all the
money they'd like. When you get a reporter
on the phone, ask if they know of any
reporters who'd like an additional easy
writing assignment and would consider
writing a press release - for pay. Chances
are better than good that the same reporter
you're speaking with will go for the chance at
easy money. If not, they'll recommend an
associate on staff.

Go over your product information with the
reporter, and add enough of a benefit
summary so they can write a quality release.
Ask them to recommend several different
angles and what they think their very best
pitch would be. Then ask what their hourly
rate is (usually about $20/$30 hour). Your
release should take about two to three hours
of writing time, if that - and should cost
around $60, at worst $90.

Now for the best part. Your reporter can
submit your release to the editor for you.
Think about it. The paper's own reporter
writes a press release - in the newspaper's
exact style of writing - and then hands it to
the editor with his own personal
recommendation. Nice package.

So without writing a stitch, you get the
release written then handed over to the
editor on a silver platter by a trusted staff
member. Your chances of getting it
published are you guessed it. When it's
printed, you just received $1,000 worth of
advertising for $60. As promised.

About the Author

Jeff has written two great books on low cost direct marketing methods: How to Market a Product for Under $500, and Uncommon Marketing Techniques. He can be reached at 610-642-1000. Additional articles:

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