In my experience, I have found that the press loves two things: news regularity.
You have to be a little quirky and you have to be d*mn persistent.
To be newsworthy, a story must be quirky, topical, controversial or connect with an audience or theme. If you send in one press release because your business does gift baskets and it is Christmas, expect it to be overlooked. If you send in pictures of comical things in a gift basket which you would give to famous celebrities who have a birthday coming up, then you have a stronger chance of one of your next 12 stories being picked up.
Having not yet done the math, I cannot claim to have brought in $50 000 of free publicity, but I can show a big folder where I have received coverage in literally hundreds of magazines, local and national daily and weekly newspapers, local and international radio stations and 75% of the TV stations in my country.
This was achieved with $0 marketing budget, some ingenuity and a boatload of persistence.
The first few dozen times that I sent in press releases, they were ignored. I guess that it may have been a busy news day and there were 200 press releases to choose from, or perhaps the journalists had their preferred sources.
However, things change. The day after a busy news day may be a very slow news day and perhaps the existing relationship between a journalist and a source may fall out. You have to be there when it does.
A writer may have to come up with ten new stories every day, and on a busy day they will have 40 to prioritise, on a slow news day they may only have 3 and have to work hard to find more.
Eventually, they will go back over their pile of old press releases that have been sent in, to see if they can find something which is still topical or current, weeks later. If your name pops up more than a dozen times in the pile of hun dreds, there is a strong chance that the journalist will use your piece.
They may call you to get a slightly newer update on the article, or they may ask you to rewrite it or submit new content on a similar theme. Be obliging to them, as by helping the writer you are also helping yourself.
If you are seen as a regular source of press releases, you will be contacted more often than someone who only submits a story once a year when it suits them.
Also, a willingness to tackle some of the uncomfortable issues in your industry, rather than just the sweet and fluffy news, will show that you are a source who is not afraid to get your hands dirty or to face unsavoury facts. Be regular, be persistent and be present: that’s the way to be the newshound’s best friend.
Celebrity Wealth Coach and media tart
How to Get Media Coverage by Jeremy Britton,