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The Power and Downfall of a Press
by Janice Williams
In my stint as editor of the Newbury Street and Back Bay Guide, press releases were a necessary aggravation. Each day the mail, fax and email brought hundreds of press releases. At the end of each day I would put these papers into different piles some went to the idea folder, some went to a writers folder, some went to the events folder while a great deal of them went into the trash. What prompted my actions?
A press release is an important marketing tool in any business, in any industry. If you have a product or service, a press release is a cost-effective and practical way of letting your targeted audience know about the product or service. Unfortunately many of these marketing efforts end up in the trash because some very basic rules of writing and sending a press release are not taken into consideration. Following are some dos and do nots concerning press releases.
DOs and DO NOTs
Make it Newsworthy - make sure that your announcement offers the editor something solid - see Publicity Materials Checklist for ideas of what is newsworthy.
Keep it short and to the point unless the press release is announcing a revolutionary idea or product, the first paragraph should peak interest and tell me exactly what is to follow. The goal is not to draw attention with clever words but to convey a message simply and effectively.
Well written if you do not have writing skills, definitely find someone who can assist you. A poorly written release finds it way to the trash more often than not.
Hint: See samples of press releases
Include necessary information I often find that press releases leave me with many more questions than answers. I find it annoying to have to call for additional information when it should have been stated in the press release. Worst thing to leave out is a contact phone number!
Include a photo Your chances of getting a press release published go up exponentially when you include a photograph. Make sure that the photograph (can be a slide or print) is of good quality and that you have included identification (a contact name & number) on the back of the photo.
Hint: do not write directly on the back of the photo as it can damage the image use an address label placed on the back of the photo. A particularly good idea is to include a CD of many images.
Know your market Do some research prior to sending your release and make sure that the publication you are sending it to addresses your target audience. There are thousands of publications both in print and on line. Go to your local library and use the reference books "Bacons Media Directories".
Hint: Always send a copy of your press release to your home town paper along with a photo of yourself.
Reasons for Developing and Maintaining a Mailing List
Reasons for Hiring Someone to Maintain Your Mailing List
Targeting the Customer
by Janice Williams
Direct mail still is the most targeted, personalized marketing tool available. According to the Direct Marketing Association, "Today, the U.S. boasts a US$1.5 trillion market for direct marketers." Direct mail comes in many forms, catalogs, letters, postcards, etc. For artistsans, one of the most cost effective method of direct mail is the full color postcard. Producing a postcard is easy with Modern Postcard. All you need is a color photo and some text. Prices start at $95 for 500 copies with larger quantities available at discounted prices. Included in the price are the scanning, layout, typesetting, and printing for front and backsides.
How to Craft Your Message
Developing and Buying Prospect Lists
One of the most important things you can do to find potential buyers is to capture names and addresses of people. I attend a great many craft shows and I visit galleries regularly. I am always amazed that these venues do not try and capture my name for future sales. You should always get and put into a database, names of people who show an interest in your art. One way to get names is to offer a free raffle. Have visitors fill out a slip with their contact information.
There are hundreds of mailing list companies where you can purchase names. You can also select targeted names such as people who buy art, collectors by type, etc. The American List Council has a online worksheet that can help you find just the right prospects.
One of the ways that I stay in touch with potential clients and buyers is through a monthly email newsletter. I maintain a database of people's email addresses and once a month let them know what's new. I also maintain databases and write and mail email newsletters for other people and businesses. This is a very low cost and effective way to get your message out. For help with your email newsletters and database management contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Artisan/Small Business Friendly Pricing
As an artist and arts promoter with 17 years of marketing experience I offer a service that I know everyone needs The services that I offer are quality, cost effective ways to promote your art/product/service. I can keep my pricing low because I have a low overhead, I limit the number of accounts (so I can have time to do my art) and because my market addresses the small budget.
So whether you need a single project done or have multiple needs at varying times, please give me a call to assist you with your marketing efforts. I charge an hourly rate of $30 per hour. Retainer pricing is also available for long term projects.