Ever sent out a press release before? They’re so easy to publish…not.
Today we’re joined by Ryan Mason, CEO and Publisher of Heliweb Magazine, to discuss tips and best practices about the materials that you send in to your trade magazine publishers – especially as they’re transitioning more and more of their content online and in digital formats.
Industrial companies love their trade magazines; there’s no secret about that. So what are some ways to approach an editor or publisher to pitch content and make the entire process easier for them?
1. SEND IN YOUR MATERIALS EARLY
Ryan generally works with his manufacturers and OEMs so that they know to schedule their press releases in advance.
When it comes to some trade shows, Heliweb (and trade magaziness in general) can get slammed with as many as 60 press releases per day.
And if that goes on for four days straight, that’s a ton of competition…not to mention a ton of materials in general that the editors have to process.
However, if you turn in your press release nice and early, notify them not to release the news until the day of the trade show opening…well, that’s perfect, because that’s the day that the next edition of the magazine is being released.
Ryan knows that release dates are important; and his magazine often gets trusted with embargo press releases because they’re so careful to publish them at the proper time.
2. TELL A STORY
Of course, even after you send in your article, competition may still be a problem for it. (60 releases per day for four days, remember?) So the easier it is for the editors to copy and paste your manuscript for publishing without major changes, the faster your article will go out. But the content of the article still matters, too.
When there’s fierce competition, Ryan and his team tend to select the articles that they know their customers will want to read: stories.
A lot of other publishers might copy and paste a generic press release in order to publish it before anybody else, so they can say, “We posted it first!” However, after they’ve done that and earned a customer’s click, the customer will bounce off the page extremely quickly after they realize it’s a verbatim press release.
On the other end of that spectrum, Heliweb and other substantial magazines attract audiences with stories that aren’t generic. Their titles are engaging and the articles are worth reading, so readers are retained for longer.
Write an actual story about what you’re doing or what your new product is; why it’s so great; and how it improves on anything else in the industry.
An article like that is far more likely to be considered a priority by your publishers…especially if they don’t have to do any tweaking before they publish it.
3. RESPECT FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS
If you send in publications that too short, publishers will avoid your story. Why?
Google will actually penalize news sites for posting any article that doesn’t meet a 300-word minimum requirement.
But even if you know about that requirement, that doesn’t give you an excuse to write a release something along the lines of, “Hi! We’re a vendor and we’re at this trade show! Here are three more paragraphs about what our company does so that we can meet Googles standards!”
In a niche industry, chances are your readers already know who you are and what you do.
If you’re competing for attention at a trade show, you need more than that. Make the content meaningful and informative. Give it an engaging title; give it a subtitle; include major keywords; include keywords in the title, subtitle, and first paragraph as well. And above all, make it engaging!
4. BUILD A RELATIONSHIP
Connect with your publishers enough to at least know their team size. Shoot them a phone call; know their email address so that you can send in materials early and respect their schedule. And if you really want to wow them…
Simple as it sounds, that is a huge gesture! Sending in a properly-sized image will cut down on the work they have to do before releasing your article, and it shows that you’re serious about working with them. Sending in a tiny .jpeg is a surefire way to get your article pushed to the back of the queue.
“In my head, I can immediately tell you: our image size is 745×545… That’s perfect. So it will come in full resolution, it won’t be distorted in any way, shape, or form; and it will perfectly fill the box when you get onto our website.”
Again: if you don’t have a picture, your article will automatically get pushed to the end of the line. Send them an image of the correct size, exported for the web so that it’s not pixelated. Efforts like that can be vital to publishers because, as Ryan says, when there are 60 releases coming in at once and many don’t have images or proper content, they just get pushed to the back.
JUST MAKE AN EFFORT
Every publisher is a little different in their requirements, but they all have a lot of common preferences. Use high-resolution images that are landscape rather than portrait. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Make sure there is only one Facebook page or other account under your name, because otherwise it’s very difficult to get tagged properly in social media promotions.
Of course following all these guidelines will take work…but once you make it a habit, the success will be well worth it.
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