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Quit sending irrelevant press releases!

As the editor of a monthly magazine, I receive many irrelevant press releases. All that those press releases achieve is to annoy the heck out of me. Your lesson from this? Quit sending irrelevant press releases.

Learn what topics are relevant

How do you learn what’s relevant?

Of course, the fastest solution may be to phone the magazine to ask, but you can do less-personal research. First, look at a sample or two of the magazine to figure out if it covers topics relevant to your organization.

If flipping the magazine’s pages doesn’t answer that question, look for the magazine’s information aimed at advertisers, which may be called a media kit. These materials often list the topics covered by the magazine. Plus, they typically describe the magazine’s readership giving you an idea of whether those readers are an attractive target for you.

Figure out if the magazine has a place to use your information

Your next hurdle is to figure out if the magazine might do something with your press release. Just because your topic is relevant to the magazine doesn’t mean the magazine can use it.

Earlier in my career, I worked for a publication with a column that ran snippets from press releases about new products and the like. There was also a press release-fueled column about new hires and promotions. If you find a similar column in your target population, add it to your press release list. If you don’t find a column that relies on press releases as fodder, look at the magazine’s articles. Are they written by professional writers who interview sources like you? Then the magazine may be an appropriate target.

In my current role, I don’t have similar columns, except for a column that highlights media mentions for members only. Also, the magazine relies on articles written by financial services experts, so I’m not going to interview your experts for an article. I’m a bit cranky about the many press releases I receive because there’s virtually no press release or interview pitch that’s appropriate for me.

The organization that I work for has filters to screen out press releases. If your press release sneaks through, I set up a rule to direct your future emails into a PR folder, never to be seen again.

A realist’s perspective on irrelevant press releases

I’m a realist. I figure you’re probably going to continue sending press releases. However, realize your releases may get ignored, or even marked as spam. But, occasionally, you may get a good results that makes it all seem worthwhile.

 

For another one of my cranky posts about press releases, read “Quit sending press releases as attachments!

How advisor Rick Kahler uses an editor

As a financial advisor or investment professional, writing is not your focus. However, you can boost the reach and effectiveness of your writing with savvy use of an editor. I’m delighted that Rick Kahler of Kahler Financial was willing to discuss with me his experience with Kathleen Fox, the editor who helps with his books and columns.

By the way, unfortunately Kathleen doesn’t have the capacity to take on additional clients. If you decide to look for an editor, Rick says, “It certainly makes things easier if the editor has some background in your area of expertise.” 


Q. What prompted you to hire an editor?

A. My editor and I were both members of a civic group that often had coffee on Saturday mornings. One day I mentioned how I wanted to write a book and how difficult it was to get started. While I was accustomed to writing a 1200-word column once a week, writing a book seemed daunting. She helped another professional write a book by interviewing him. She suggested we do the same to get the book started. That sounded great to me, so we set aside Fridays each week to talk.  Soon she was sending me copy and it was easy for me to take that “primer” and expound upon it.  Kathleen ended up becoming my coauthor on that first book, Conscious Finance.

Kathleen then edited two of my other three books and continues today as my personal editor. She helps with my weekly online and print column as well as articles and white papers. We’re also looking forward to finding the time to coauthor another book.

Q. How do you work with your editor?
A. I talk with my editor once a week and bounce ideas off her. We’ve worked together now for almost 10 years.  She says she can hear my voice speaking to her or recall conversations from the past on topics that makes it easy for her to do my editing.

My editor often can start a column by putting my words on paper and sending them to me.  That saves me a lot of time, as I work fast off of something on a page.  Getting that initial kernel on the page takes a little longer for me.  Starting from scratch, I can write a column in one to two hours.  If I have 200 to 400 words already started, I can usually finish it off in 15 to 20 minutes.

Q. What’s the biggest benefit of this relationship?
A. This saves me time that I can be spending with clients, my family, or reading additional research for column ideas.