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Illustrator/Cartoonist Wanted
I'm about to do a "Steven King" and publish/sell a new book through the Web. What I'm looking for is someone who's good at drawing cartoons to do the illustrations.

They also need to be somewhat entrepreneurial because I'm offering a share of the money earned rather than a big wad of cash up front. The royalty share will also include any hardcopy versions if it's picked up by my print publisher.

If you think you've got what it takes, let me know

Marketing Your Website Part 6 27 July 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Free Advertising
As my recent survey of Aardvark readers confirmed, the most effective form of advertising is getting a mention and a link in an online news story. Readers said that they were many times more likely to click on such a link than on banner ads.

But how do you get online news sites to write a story about your site?

Why you send out a press release of course!

Well I've got to say that it's not quite that easy -- but, when done correctly, this can be a great way of getting some free advertising of the most effective kind.

The first thing you must do is create or do something that's newsworthy. News sites aren't going to bore their readers to death by writing a story about yet another small online store selling craft products -- unless -- it's doing something really different.

As the editor/publisher of Aardvark I receive several press releases every day and, although I tend to publish all the relevant ones, it's not often that one moves me to write a story or editorial about it. Many of them are also blatantly commercial -- those ones don't even make it to the Aardvark Press Bin page.

I'm not going to go into the details of how to write a good press release, there are many 4 other excellent resources out there on the Net that will help you with that task. However, as someone who has been the editor of multiple online news sites, I will offer some of my own tips.

  1. Keep it short -- the likelihood that your PR will be read by a busy editor is probably inversely proportional to the number of words it contains. If an editor decides to run a story on your PR they'll contact you to get extra information if they need it.

  2. Grab em by the throat -- on a busy day, even the shortest PR won't make it past the editor's desk unless you're able to convince him within the first sentence or two that there's a story here. In fact, the first thing an editor wants to know about any PR is why it is newsworthy -- hence my own PRs start with a heading: Why This Release Is Newsworthy, followed by a single sentence that gives the reason.

  3. Make it easy -- editors and writers are busy people, if your PR won't require major reworking to covert to a news story then you're more likely to get some coverage on a busy day.

  4. Skip the fancy formatting -- most certainly ensure that your PR is well laid out and easy to read -- but don't be tempted to use bolding, underline and multiple fonts and sizes of text. KISS!

  5. Don't advertise -- nothing gets a PR binned quicker than a pitch which is clearly just an advertisement. Remember -- it has to be newsworthy!

  6. Include the URL! -- yes, on a number of occasions I've received PRs for a website that have not mentioned the URL where that site can be found. If you're sending your PR by email, include a convenient link in the body of the email.

Another thing to remember is that, since all editors and writers are overworked and underpaid (trust me, I know), don't expect them to jump through hoops in order to decode your email.

It's not smart to send PRs as MS Word document files -- not everyone believes in the cult of the Gates and even if they do, MS Word files tend to slow down the process by requiring a virus-scan and stripping of all your sill fonts and formatting.

If you really feel that you must send your PR in MS Word format, please make sure you include a plain ASCII text version in the body of your email as well -- and don't send an HTML-formatted email -- just use plain old text!

Don't forget to include your phone number -- if you do make it past the editor's desk then chances are a writer will want to call and get more information.

Tomorrow I'll try to give you some ideas as to how you can turn a boring, mundane announcement into an "event" worthy of a press release.

Continued tomorrow...

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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