Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Personalize your media materials

Follow the lead of college communications offices and boost your success rate with your media relations materials by personalizing them as often as possible. When you make it clear why your news or information is relevant to the outlet's audience, you increase the chance that it will be used and shared.

When colleges announce the names of students selected for the Dean's List each semester, they don't send one release listing all the names to every hometown newspaper. They use technology to create individual press releases for every market with a name on the list. These PR people know that newspaper editors would never comb through a long list looking for the hometowns in their circulation area -- it's just too much work for too little reward.

Similarly, if -- for example -- you're supporting a new product test marketing campaign by sending a press release to local media outlets in the three market cities, change your release title and e-mail subject line for each city from "Acme Beverages tests unique new beverage in three markets" to "Acme Beverage selects Indianapolis for one of three test markets for new beverage." This personalization makes the local connection as clear as possible.

Similarly, a national organization announcing a new intiative to local markets can provide the name, phone number, and e-mail address of a local contact or chapter leader so that the media outlet has someone local to call to uncover specifics about the impact of the initiative on the specific community. Announcing the 25 finalists in a national competition? Personalize the announcements going to the media in each of those finalists' hometowns. Sure, it takes more work to use technology change the headline and first paragraph of each of those announcements -- and then to make sure that each one goes to the correct media outlets -- but the increased pick-up (and resulting exposure) makes it well worth the effort.

Geographic personalization makes the difference between lackluster and exciting results.

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