Press Release Tip 27
Highlight the local angle to a national story
When a national or international story breaks, and you’re the local angle, write a press release.
Take Hurricane Katrina, for example. Three weeks after the hurricane hit, Steve Roberts, the owner of a Canadian rug-cleaning company, traveled to New Orleans to restore hundreds of precious rugs that had been waterlogged and covered in mud and slime.
Andre Janisch wrote a press release about his good deeds. Media coverage included an article in a local free-distribution newspaper, a story on CBS radio, and an article in the Victoria News.
“Along with submitting the release to local media outlets, I also submitted it to PRWeb and a couple of other free online press release distribution places,” Andre says. “I still can find quite a few places on the web that picked up that release and made it part of their website.”
The release and media coverage resulted in a 23 percent increase in sales at the factory within just a few weeks.
Notice that the release resembles a story that you’d read in a newspaper, with great quotes from Steve and lots of detail. I would have included a call to action at the end.
Here’s the release:
For further information contact:
Hundreds of Priceless Oriental Rugs Rescued From Hurricane Flood Damage by Canadian Business Owner
Steve Roberts, owner of Luv-A-Rug, a Victoria, B.C., based area rug cleaning company, never imagined being directly involved with any rescue efforts in New Orleans. But a telephone call from Jackson, Mississippi changed all that.
“I was an exhibitor at a Carpet Cleaning Trade Show in Las Vegas when I got a frantic call from George Bell, who owns a rug cleaning company in Mississippi,” remembers Roberts. “He desperately needed one of my new ‘RugBadgers’ that I recently unveiled to the industry, so after the show, I flew down and personally delivered one to him.”
When Roberts arrived in Jackson, George Bell lamented to him how he and all his best people were so busy restoring flood-damaged rugs from New Orleans that he didn’t have anyone else that could go back down and pick up other rugs that needed to be saved. “There are thousands of rugs rotting away down there that still can be saved,” explained Bell.
Roberts immediately volunteered to go and help rescue these rugs. Even with all the TV coverage, Roberts was not prepared for the devastation he witnessed. “Trees, roofs and even buildings were all blown down. I needed to use a GPS to figure out where I was because there weren’t any street signs left standing,” Roberts remarked.
It was while driving through the older upscale district of Metairie that Steve Roberts saw all the front yards piled high with the damaged contents of the houses. “Anything left in the homes during the flood was ruined,” Roberts said. “People were dragging out furniture, TVs, kitchen cabinets, washers, dryers, electronics, you name it, it was out there.”
Even with all this clean-up going on, people would notice the area rug cleaning van that Roberts was driving and they would chase him down to get him to look at their rugs. “People were so happy to hear their rugs could be saved,” recalls Roberts.
Whenever Roberts drove by a house with a rug on a garbage pile, he would stop and ask the owners about it. Many people said, “Oh, you can’t save it,” but Roberts would reply, “You know what, if it’s a good rug, it’s worth taking a look at.” He was often surprised at what was thrown away. “People would go to the heap, pull the rug out of the pile and I would discover it was a $20,000 Isfahan, or a $10,000 Tabriz, or even a $40,000 Beshir rug, all completely restorable!”
According to Roberts, the only salvageable personal item many people had in their flooded home was their oriental rug. Often it was a family heirloom. “In one trip alone, I was able to save over 80 waterlogged rugs that were covered in filth, slime and unimaginable stink,” said Roberts. “Good-quality handmade rugs are extremely resilient and can be easily restored because their dyes will not run, nor will they fall apart like many glued synthetic rugs even under severe conditions like what happened in New Orleans.”
Want more tips on how to be the local angle? “Special Report #35: How to be the Local Angle to National Stories” shows you how to be on the lookout for publicity opportunities, other examples of local angles to national news stories, how to pitch your ideas to the print and broadcast media, how to make your pitch irresistible, and when to pitch multiple media outlets. Only $7.
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Opportunity #27 to write a press release: Free samples
Any time you’re offering free samples, write a press release. Samples can include things that you mail to people, like packets of shampoo. They can also include things like a free sample chapter from a new book. You can invite people to visit your website and download the sample if they give you their email address.
Next: Prompt the media to call you.