As most of us in the greeting card trade are aware, it is a very crowded market and having great designs and product just isn’t enough to get your company noticed. Social media is great but good old fashioned press coverage, whether it be digital or in a printed form, is still a fantastic way to shout about your business and products. In this post, part of our “Know Your Onions” series, Gale Astley, freelance copywriter, filmmaker and former deputy editor of trade magazine Progressive Greetings, gives her top tips on how to maximise your press coverage. Gale, who has over 17 years experience writing for the trade press about the card industry, has in her time seen some great press releases and some not so good ones; so armed with her insights here are Gale’s top tips for getting it right.
Just ‘Do It’!
With a number of stationery and gift trade magazines in circulation – Stationery Matters, Greetings Today, cardandgiftnetwork.com, Giftware Review, giftsandgreetingsreview.com, Garden Centre Buyer, Gift Focus, Stationery Trends in the US, as well as Progressive Greetings, to name a few – it’s difficult to know what each publication requires from a press release, but you’ve got to be in it to win it so don’t hold back shouting about (by email) your news story or new product launch. What’s the worst that can happen? That your news won’t be featured in the magazine? Well, don’t be disheartened, there may be a number of reasons why it wasn’t published that you are unaware of happening within the magazine, such as its pages are currently full to capacity.
Give it a month and then send out a lovely follow up email as a reminder. Just be aware though that some trade magazines work within an advertorial system – you pay for an advert and then receive some editorial space. Personally, I’d send the press release anyway; there’s a lot to be said for cheekiness/doggedness.
Telling Your Story
For fear of being hoisted by my own petard, I’m going to be informative but concise about what to include in your press release.
- If you can, find out the name of the person/editor you are sending your press release to – It’s personal and friendly, looks like you’ve done a bit of homework and your release is more likely to be used.
- Have an eye-catching headline – Okay not everyone is a wordsmith but have a go. A simple ‘New launch by the Dog’ doesn’t grab the attention as much as ‘A rainbow of new designs by the Dog’ or ‘Dog shoots for the stars with new range’.
- What’s the angle of your press release? – Usually press releases are about a new product launch or a business story, sometimes a personal one, such as raising money for charity. However, if you can, find an angle within these stories. This could be a collection aligning with the environmentally friendly market, that a percentage of the sale of the items raises money for the NHS or the collection was inspired by a trip to the Lake District (socially distancing of course). Try to find an angle that will shine extra light on your story/news.
- If you want to showcase a new product launch in a trade magazine relay details about the product(s) a potential buyer/retailer might want to know ie. name of new range, size of item(s), RRP price, how many designs in the collection, design style and finishes. Important to buyers/retailers are environmentally friendly elements to the design and green packaging or ‘nakedness’ (of cards), which remain key to many buyers.
- Be clear and, to a degree, succinct with your information in your press release. The first paragraph should include the essential information about your new launch/story, the following paragraphs the extra details. However, don’t waffle! A magazine page has only a certain amount of space and if your press release is too long it will be chopped (or edited as they say in the industry).
Saying that, if you have a flair for writing then get creative! It’s your brand and product after all, and the more quirky, funny, interesting your press release the more people will read it.
- If your press release is a news story, rather than about a new launch, always include short quotes in first person; add your own voice about the topic.
- Images are important, especially in visual/design industries. To save both parties time always include a hi-res image (not low-res) with your press release – either of the flat design, product shot or a photograph if featuring people or shops. If the image is embedded in the text as a PDF already then add the hi-res version of the image to the email too. One of my personal bugbears was having to go back to the press release sender to ask for a hi-res image.
- Don’t forget to add your contact details.
- Download magazine publications’ Features List to be in tune with the editorial possibilities open to you at that time.
I would also recommend contacting Charlotte Cowell, who is welcoming submissions to her email email@example.com. Charlotte writes for Giftware Review, Garden Centre Buyer and giftsandgreetingsreview.com, as well as www.cardandgiftnetwork.com.
This post was created for the Creative Card Collective Facebook Group and Blog by Gale Astley, a freelance copywriter and filmmaker. Gale can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Instagram: astleygale