By Kathy Krassner, Owner, Krassner Communications
As a longtime editor of trade magazines in the gift and stationery business, I've received my share of good and bad press releases from greeting card designers and publishers. As an industry consultant, I've also had the opportunity to write press releases for various card and gift companies. Since I've sat on both sides of the publicity fence, I'd like to share the following 10 mistakes that are often made when writing and submitting press releases to editors -- and tips on how to do it correctly!
1. Sending releases to the wrong editor. Make sure you have the correct name and e-mail address of the correct editor to whom to send your press release. Check the publication's website, or call its main number to confirm you have the right information. It's usually best to send your release to the editor-in-chief, and it's definitely not necessary to send the same release to more than one editor at a publication.
2. Sending releases to the wrong industry. If you have a press release about your new greeting card line, be sure the publication to which you're sending the release actually covers greeting cards. Editors at tabletop or home-furnishings magazines who don't ever cover greeting cards shouldn't be on your press list.
3. Sending releases at the wrong time. Check the publication's editorial calendar -- which should be on its website -- for which issues it's covering specific occasions and holidays. Then, be sure to send your press release by the editorial deadline date, which is usually well in advance of the issue's publication date as well as earlier than its advertising deadlines. If you miss a magazine's deadline for its print publication, you might check with the editor to see if it's not too late to submit something to run on its website.
4. Too little product information. Editors prefer to run press releases that contain all of the information they need, since most don't have the time to track down any missing information. Therefore, do provide as many relevant details about your greeting card line as possible, including dimensions, special embellishments or techniques used, inner versing and, very important, retail pricing.
5. Too much company information. It's good to include a short paragraph about what your company does and how long you've been in business; it's not good to provide a multi-page history. Press releases should generally be kept to one page, if possible. It's much better to include a link to your company's website where editors can read your whole story if they'd like.
6. Not enough contact information. In addition to supplying your company's website address, be sure to include your full name, company name, e-mail address, company address and company phone number (toll-free if you have one). If you are submitting a press release on behalf of a card company to whom you've licensed your designs (please double-check with your licensee before you do this!), you should also include that company's name, address, website address, toll-free phone number, and the name and e-mail of the correct p.r. contact there.
7. Not proofing press releases. Editors hate typos! If your release includes the wrong website address or retail price, those errors will end up running in publications nationwide and could cost you business. And, whatever you do, be sure to spell the word "stationery" correctly!
8. No images or low-res images. One way to help guarantee that your press release will run is to include several high-res images of the cards mentioned in the release. Just as they don't like to track down missing information, editors don't want to have to call or e-mail for images. While low-res jpgs are fine for online coverage, most print magazines require hi-res jpgs (usually at least 3 inches big at 300 dpi). Only send a few images that best exemplify the line, and make sure they're not so large that they bounce back.
9. No actual product samples. If an editor isn't familiar with your card line, it's a smart idea to send actual printed samples so that she or he can see and feel the quality of your product for themselves. Be sure to include the envelopes that the cards come with; editors that use your line will definitely remember it.
10. Too much follow-up. In this age of spam filters, it's perfectly fine to follow up with just one phone call to make sure your press release and images made it to the editor's desktop. Making numerous calls, however, is basically the equivalent of editor stalking, and many editors find repetitive calls and e-mails annoying. It's better to follow up by mailing a hard copy of your press release and a few actual samples of your line, as previously mentioned.
Actually, the biggest mistake you can make is to not send any press releases at all! It's surprising how many companies don't take the time to respond to editorial requests or to send in press releases when they have new releases. Take advantage of every opportunity to get free publicity -- and remember to follow the guidelines above.
Here's an example of a press release written by Kathy Krassner:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS CONTACT: RON KANFI
NobleWorks Has New Lines!
(And we don't mean on our face.)
(June 15, 2010) NobleWorks has just launched more than 20 hilarious new greeting cards, including two brand-spankin'-new lines: "RUBES" and "I'm Just Saying." The introduction also includes additions -- some nice, some naughty! -- to several of the company's other popular humor lines.
The new "RUBES" line features greeting cards by NobleWorks' newest licensed cartoonist, Leigh Rubin. The initial launch includes six eco-themed illustrations that make "green" funny! These birthday cards (and one get-well card) poke fun at everything from recycling to saving the whales.
I'm Just Saying
"I'm Just Saying" is an original new line featuring a seemingly cute, androgynous little character who pops up on the cover of these cards. Behind this character's innocent exterior, however, hides a sharp sense of humor. The line includes several birthday designs plus a new list-type card.
Among other introductions are new "Talk Bubbles" cards featuring naughty, typewritten messages on brightly colored covers; as well as new cartoons from Daniel Collins, including "The Seven Dwarves of Shoes" ... which everyone is sure to get a kick out of! All of these new NobleWorks cards retail at $2.95 and are available immediately.
About NobleWorks Inc.
NobleWorks Inc. is celebrating its 30th anniversary in business this year! Known as "The Humor Company," NobleWorks' line includes more than 1,500 everyday and seasonal designs, ranging from slightly silly to somewhat risqué. NobleWorks' complete product line can be viewed at its website -- www.nobleworkscards.com -- where visitors to the site can also access the company's blog as well as send free e-cards. A fully functional wholesale version of the site is soon to be launched. NobleWorks is located at 500 Paterson Plank Rd., Union City, NJ 07087. For additional information, please contact NobleWorks at 800-346-6253 or visit www.nobleworkscards.com.
Kathy Krassner is owner of Krassner Communications, a writing-services firm based in Ringoes, NJ. She was previously editor-in-chief of Greetings etc. magazine and has been an editor at Gifts & Decorative Accessories and Giftware News magazines. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn.
Ebooks by Kate Harper
You can support this blog by ordering Kate's e-Booklets starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available. You can also view the list of all recommended greeting card books by a variety of authors.
Get Your Greeting Cards into Stores explains how to sell cards nationwide. Included are detailed guidelines on: How to price cards for a profit, get professional feedback, find sales representatives and follow industry standards. Information is also applicable to gift items, magnets, journals, calendars, collectibles, etc.
20 Steps to Art Licensing is a book about how to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, or manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. Learn how to prepare your art, what companies to contact, how to find agents, and what trade shows to attend. Includes extensive resources on social media, copyrights, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers.
7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers is a booklet that explains what to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers. Learn how to create a trendy card that reflects the contemporary world we live in, and how to use your own personal experience to create card verse. Topics include: how to avoid limiting your market, when to use adjectives, not creating card for enemies, write like people talk and a list of why card sentiment submissions are often rejected. You can increase your odds of success by 60% just by doing a few simple things. Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, and writing exercises for how to create good verse.
Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured is a booklet on how to get your cards noticed in non-traditional ways. Everything from why you should send cards to your dentist, to how to get a special feature in national publication. Great tips for designers who are starting out and want to get their cards into the hands of people beyond friends and family. Special Section: 22 Gift Industry Trade Publications who seek out new greeting card designs and feature artists for free.
How to Make an EBook Cover for Non-Designers is an illustrated book will show you how to make your own e-book cover, even if you are not a designer. It is intended to help the indie writer who is on a budget and wants to publish and sell their own book in online stores such Amazon.com and the Apple ibookstore. Selling your book in these stores will allow readers to purchase your book and read it on multiple devices such as the Kindle, iPad, iPhone and many other electronic devices.