Friday, July 31, 2009

Do It Yourself PR Tips

Based on a question I received on an association discussion board, I thought I would share this information here as well. The question was essentially: how can IFAs can post news releases online "for journalists to 'pick up'" and/or target specific media outlets and journalists.


There are many different vendors that offer online news release distribution / posting services. Some are free. Some are low cost. Some are pricey. There's some wisdom to the old adage, "you get what you pay for."

Most of the online free and low cost options, such as, are meant to be online visibility tools. In my experience, most "real journalists" don't pay much attention to online postings and RSS feeds from services like PR Web. The real value of something like PR Web is that you can create an online news room and bank of permanent online news releases. This can boost search engine ratings and create happy "just stumbled upon your news release online" type of business results.

Other free services (some with a premium / paid upgrade option) include: – Free release distribution with ad-support – Free distribution, paid services gives you better placement and permanent archiving. – Distributs to sites like Google News and, Gold level will also get you to sites like LexisNexis. – Focuses on ecommerece and requires you include an image, 3 keywords and links. – Free distribution company with offices in 12 states. – Easy press release distribution for free, more features for paid accounts. – Distributes your release, offers a web page with one keyword link to your site. Pro upgrade will give you three links, permanent archiving and more. – Allows for free distribution to sites and search engines, premium membership differs only slightly in adding in graphics. – All the usual free distribution tools, premium service includes logo, product picture and more. – Not only will they distribute your press releases, but you can also set up a full company profile. – Ad supported press distribution site. – European-based free press release distribution site. – Completely free distribution to search engines, news sites, and blogs. – Distribute your press release with a free or paid version, others can vote it up ala Digg (Digg) style. – Not only distributes your release, but attempts to teach you how to write one, and even offers downloadbale samples for you to work with. – Submit your release for free and get on their front page and the category of your choice. – A free press release service formatted as a blog. – Free press release distribution no matter what, but extra services based on the size of your contribution. – Free distribution to search engines, newswires, and RSS feeds. Fee based bumps get you better placement. – Free distribution to Google News and other other search engines. – Gives free distribution for plain formatted releases, fees for HTML-coded releases.


If an organization or individual had a more specific goal of getting a news release in front of a select group of journalists, the best options are to work with a professional PR firm.

Working with a professional PR firm has the following advantages:

1. Relationships with real journalists. Any good PR firm will have cultivated and will constantly be cultivating relationships with a targeted group of media outlets and specific journalists.

2. Access to comprehensive media databases. Any good PR firm will subscribe to a media database so that they can quickly build targeted media distribution lists and glean specific pitching tips for specific journalists. For instance, at my firm, we subscribe to Media Atlas / PR Newswire.

3. Proprietary media lists. Any good PR firm will have developed their own proprietary distribution lists. They won't share this information with you at any cost.

4. Insights about when to use a news release, when to do a virtual or in-person media tour, when to do email or phone pitching, mass blasts or personal outreach, etc.

5. Strong ability to write a compelling news release that will get the attention of the targeted media list or news wire service.

6. Insights on when to use direct distribution to their proprietary list versus a news wire service versus a satellite feed (or a combination thereof).

- Most PR firms use a professional news wire service to supplement their direct email and fax distributions -- for instance BusinessWire or PRNewsWire. We use PRNewsWire and can thus target specific media distribution areas in the US, select the entire US, or opt for global distribution.

- A professionally written news release put out on a good news wire service will get picked up by news aggregation sites such as Yahoo! news, Google news, etc. and various online publications such as,,, etc. Real journalists watch and search these sites for items of interest and resources that pertain to their "beat." In addition, there is a credibility factor that occurs when a company/advisor links to what looks like a "news article" on a credible outlet such as versus

- Sometimes PR firms will also use an Associated Press satellite feed to ensure it goes right into media outlets and has a higher chance of hitting editors/producers desks.

7. Integration of Web 2.0 and viral marketing strategies with traditional PR tactics.

- For instance, submitting a news release in the most appropriate way(s) as described above. Then finding the top 10 bloggers on the topic and sending them an e-mail, linking to the release somewhere it was published.

- Another example: Blogging, tweeting, participating on social and business networking sites like Facebook, various Ning and/or subscriber-based communities, LinkedIn, etc.

- One last example: Using multi-media news releases and/or an electronic media blitz.

8. Ability track and measure results.

More tips and insights on why PR should be a big part of every independent financial advisor's marketing plan is available here: - check the Advisor Resources tab and the In the News tab, which houses almost all of the past articles I've written.


1. Get some media training. If you are a member of FPA, NAPFA, IAFSCA, GPN or other professional associations you are probably offered live and virtual media training opportunities. Another option is Media Mastery University:

2. Practice small before you leap large. Talk to peers about what they have done and how they have been successful. Get into a PR Training and Empowerment group lead by a PR professional.

3. Build one success on another on another on another. Leverage your media successes so that you to become a "slightly famous" planner with your clients and strategic partners. Enjoy the crebility and take the next step as you improve your media skills (e.g., go from a local newspaper bylined column or TV appearances to national outlets and TV appearances, write a white paper then a book, etc.)

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