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Ask Mark Coker your PR questions



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    dovetaildovetail subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Jill,
    Looks like a great site.
    First thing I`d do is subscribe to the free helpareporter.com list.  I`ve
    seen many reporter queries come across there focused on women-owned businesses,
    and I expect in the next couple months there will be dozens of holiday gift
    guide queries.  When the queries come in to your inbox, it`s important you
    respond to the appropriate ones within minutes, otherwise someone else will.
    Next, I`d research who wrote last year`s holiday gift guides in the media
    appropriate for your target customer. The reporters who wrote last year`s
    holiday gift guide *may* be the ones to write the guides this year, and if
    they`re not they`ll probably know who to direct you to. For targeting, 
    I`m guessing the top 100 daily newspapers, top newsweeklies (Time, Newsweek,
    USN&WR), consumer weeklies (People) and magazines that target women (a
    million of them).  For around $500 each, you can purchase the print
    directory called Bacon`s, which offers the contact information and beats for
    reporters at magazines, newspapers, radio and television.  http://us.cision.com/products_services/ ... s_2008.asp

    For television, contact your local morning shows or in NY, contact the big
    morning shows, and ask to speak with a producer, then ask about gift guide
    segments they`re planning.  Broadcast is tough, but the rewards would be
    great so no harm trying!
    You can do much of your contact via email and phone.  If you`ve got more
    budget, I`d create a press kit containing a one page fact sheet on your
    business (the owner, the story behind it, contact information for the reporter
    and contact information for publication), and paperclipped to the cover I`d put
    a personalized cover letter:  Dear [insert firstname].  Always
    personalize it.  Never say "Dear reporter."  I`m amazed at
    the number of so-called professional PR people who get lazy and do that.  But I
    digress.  The cover letter should introduce you and your business in a
    sentence or two, and ask if they`re responsible for putting together this
    year`s holiday gift guides.  If so, you`ve got some fun and unusual
    suggestions to share from your business, and then provide your contact
    information again (phone, email, cell) to make yourself available to answer any
    questions or comment on the gift buying trends you`re seeing this year. 
    You might want to include hyperlinks to a press room that would allow them to download high resolution images of your products. Alternately, you could include a CD with images.
    For the monthly publications, your campaign should start in the next two
    months, latest, because they have 4 month or longer production lead
    times.  For daily newspapers, your kits or your first emails/phone calls
    should arrive at 3 or 4 weeks before Thanksgiving.  When you call, first
    identify yourself, then ask if they have a quick second, then ask if they`re
    responsible for this year`s holiday gift guide.  Be polite and considerate
    of their time and you`re bound to make some new allies in the promotion of your
    Good luck!
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