At the recent State of the Media Conference in San Francisco, I had an opportunity to sit down with Peter Philips, President of Philips Publishing Group and Publisher of the Pacific Maritime Magazine. We talked about the best ways to get a company in print and he provided some valuable information:
Question – Should a press release be sent out to all publications in general or should the public relations department try to narrow down the distribution?
Peter – “Do your homework. Make sure that your release, email or phone call is directed at the publication’s audience. Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) is a good place to find editorial and audience profiles for all US publications. SRDS is available online and at most larger public libraries.”
Question – How long should a press release be?
Peter – “Keep your message short. No more than one page or one paragraph if an email. Contact phone number and links can be used for depth, but don’t scare your audience away with too much information up front. Bullet points are a good way to communicate even more briefly.”
Question – What about the headline?
Peter – “Use simple, succinct headlines. Make sure your headline spells out exactly what you want to communicate. Don’t be cute or clever – be direct.”
Question – Should a photo be included with the press release?
Peter – “Whenever possible, include photos. We are always looking for the appropriate photo(s) to illustrate our editorial – or simply to break it up. If you can provide that photo, you’ll stand a good chance of getting into our magazine.”
Question – Who should be listed as the contact in a press release?
Peter – “Always include a contact, whether it is at your company, or at the client company who may be the subject of the release. It is important that the contact included be educated about the subject matter – and has the authority to speak to it.”
Question – What advice do you have for a company trying to establish its reputation?
Peter – “Be aware of your company’s involvement – even if minor – in big and/or topical transportation topics. Take photos of these projects, in which your company is visible. Make yourself a ‘source’ for editors looking for information about a particular industry sector. The key to this is to remain objective. If your competitor is the star of a story, say so. That builds your credibility, and next time your company is the star of a project, you’ll have the ear of the editor.”
Question – If a company places advertising should they expect to get editorial coverage?
Peter – “Do not tie editorial coverage to advertising. Credible publications that have the respect of the industry are such because they remain objective, and report on timely, topical stories regardless of commercial pressures. Publications that succumb to the-editorial-for-advertising-trade do so at the cost of credibility – and readability. It doesn’t matter how much coverage you get if nobody reads – or trusts the source.
If you have a question that we can help answer, please feel free to comment below. For more information on Pacific Maritime Magazine visit www.rhppublishing.com or contact Peter Philips at firstname.lastname@example.org.