Saturday, August 22, 2020

Marketing Plans: Part 2


This is the second part of the series on how well I used my 2015 marketing plan.


Publish press Releases, etc.

a.     Galva News

b.    Dispatch & RI Argus

c.     Galesburg and other IL area papers


Those of us who are of the pre-internet era should be familiar with how press releases were once written by hand, typed up, mimeographed, folded, stuffed into hand-addressed envelopes, stamped, and then mailed out to news editors. A snail’s pace would adequately describe the labor-intensive process. Unless, of course, one could organize a crew of helpers.

My writing career began with writing press releases for the Bishop Hill Arts Council. I had been asked if I could help out and was given some old clippings and told to do a rewrite with the current event information. It was fun to see something I wrote be published. I used those new-found skills for my craft business, my children’s 4-H Club, the Galva Arts Council, and for any time something needed to be promoted.


Galva News

My relationship with the Galva News started soon after those first press releases. Doug Boock, managing editor at the time, started giving me assignments as a correspondent. He was my first editor and I learned a lot. I got the front page for the press release for my book. (Okay, it was below the fold, along with GHS homecoming and a Hog Days parade photo. Above the fold was a piece on citywide garage sales, the Bishop Hill Old Settlers reunion, and a bad dog photo. But still….) Doug added a nice introduction to the standard copy I’d sent out to my list of regional newspapers.

I need to take a side trip here and explain how difficult it was, and still is, to write about myself and my work. When I write about other writers/authors I can find the message or the salient point that makes a good review positive and possible. But when it comes to me and mine … I draw a blank. Still, I needed a press release and for this occasion I forced myself into a stranger’s shoes and went for it. The result was better than my usual. I used variations on that copy for my back-cover blurb and other promotional needs. I got a lot of mileage out of that effort.


Dispatch & RI Argus, Galesburg, and other IL area papers

Now back to 2016 where I had discovered the wonders of sending newsy items by email, thus avoiding all the labor and expense of stuffing envelopes. I still had to give the editors, who are always conscious of print space, plenty of lead time for editing. I had about a dozen contacts, largely on the Illinois side of the river, on my list and most did something with my press release.


(In case you ever wondered how all those awkward sentences made it into print—editors cut from the bottom to make things fit into the available space. So always get your important information mentioned early in whatever promotional item you’re writing about. Just to be safe.)

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