Press coverage is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing. Generally, it’ll only cost you your time to send a press release to a journalist. If that then makes it into the newspaper or magazine you’re targeting, you’re reaching a huge chunk of people in your local area.
A lot of the publicity relating to the world of dog breeding tends to be on negative topics such as puppy farming, neglect or inbreeding. As a responsible breeder, its your job to counter the perception that all breeders are neglectful.
Phone don’t email
In the first instance, call the publication in question and explain who you are. Politely ask who would be the best person to send your press release to. Generally, journalists are quite helpful and will be able to give you the email address of a person you should be sending information to.
In some cases, you’ll get the generic news desk or features email but don’t let this put you off. Send your press release as requested but make sure you follow up…
Not only does this make sure you send your release to the right person but you get to create real human contact with someone.
Choose your story carefully
In order to counter any negative stories, you’ll need to be putting out lovely, feel-good stories. Perhaps your puppies have brought joy to the kids of a local children’s charity, or maybe one of your dogs has won an award.
Within these kinds of stories you can explain your methods and a little bit about your business. Not only will this show readers what responsible breeding looks like but you’ll also be promoting your business in a very positive light.
Follow up with a phone call
Once you’ve sent something, wait a week or so and follow up with a call. Just ask if the journalist got your email. If they didn’t, resend. If they did, ask if they managed to take look at it.
This is a good chance for you to answer any questions they might have about your business and your puppies. They may even want a quote from you on the side of breeding that so often makes it into the papers.
Interact on social media
We’ve talked about some of the benefits of social media in the past and it can also help your PR activity. Follow journalists on Twitter and keep an eye on their updates. From there you can reply, strike up a conversation, add your point of view and more. If you can get a good debate or conversation going on a regular basis, they’re more likely to remember you when you call or think of you when planning a relevant story.
Give journalists the chance to see your puppies
Let journalists see your puppies and the environment in which they spend their first weeks. Perhaps send a press release offering to show journalists how puppies can be bred responsibly. As this isn’t a side of the story that’s so often shown, some publications may jump at the chance.
You can also do this by inviting journalists and photographers along to any events you hold.
Get your point across
Short sentences and simple wording will help you to get your point across without any confusion. If a journalist needs to expand on anything then they can call you for a quote. Once your release is written, run it past a non-breeder friend to see if they understand what you’re trying to say.
Being clear and concise in this way can help you to put across the other side of the argument without being misunderstood.