The Mover’s Deputy Editor David Jordan explains the ‘black art’ of getting your story published in the press for free and why you really should make the effort.
Along with every other trade magazine in the world, The Mover relies to a large extent on contributions from the industry for its news stories. It’s a two-way thing: the magazine gets the stories it needs to fill its pages and the contributor gets free publicity for making the effort. And yes, I do mean free.
Here at The Mover we never charge for publishing news stories, but they must be news and not just ads in disguise. And if you’ve ever wondered why some companies regularly appear in the magazine and yours never has, it’s probably because they send us stuff and you don’t!
The Mover has thousands of readers across the globe, so if you have a story to tell, don’t just stick it on your website or post it on Facebook and hope for the best, send it to us and we’ll tell the world. It could be a new product or service you’ve just launched, a new member of the team you’ve just appointed, or an unusual job you’ve just completed, the list goes on and on. All you need is a bit of imagination.
Here’s some top tips to help you get started
Of course, ideally, we’d like you to send us completed articles that we can use without too much editing, but if writing isn’t really your thing, or English isn’t your first language, don’t worry, we’ll sort everything out at this end. Just remember this golden rule of information gathering, the five Ws: Who? What? Where? When? and Why? For the purists, you can add in How? as well – but that begins with an H.
As an example, let’s say you’re telling us about a new truck you’ve just bought. Who made the decision to buy it? What make and model is it? Where did you buy it? When did you take delivery? And, most importantly, Why did you buy it and how will it benefit you and your customers?
Whatever you’re writing about try to include people in your story. In the case of a new truck for example, get a comment from the driver or the transport manager and make sure you send a picture of them with the new vehicle, and don’t forget to tell us their names!
Use quotes, but make sure they sound real and avoid too many acronyms and management jargon. And remember to keep them short; editors hate long quotes because they can’t be edited.
Don’t be too promotional
It’s important not to make your story too self-congratulatory or overtly promotional. For example, don’t write something like this: The Midland’s number one moving company, XYZ Removals is delighted to announce the opening of its fabulous new self storage depot in the centre of Birmingham. The new store will provide customers with the very best storage facilities in the area at prices everyone can afford.
Instead write something like: On 23 February XYZ Removals announced the opening of its new self storage depot in the centre of Birmingham. The new store is the latest phase in the company’s expansion programme and is the fifth branch to open during the last three years. Manager Sam Miller said, “Self storage is in great demand at the moment and our new store means our customers won’t have to travel to our out-of-town locations to access the facilities they need.”
Use the right format
Write your story in Microsoft Word and send it as an email attachment. For some unfathomable reason there is an emerging fashion for people, including top PR agencies who should know better, to send stories in PDF. Please don’t do that, it makes them very difficult to edit and they’ll almost certainly get thrown in the bin!
Pictures, pictures, pictures
No one wants to read a magazine without pictures, but you’d be surprised how many stories we get that don’t include one - it’s one of the biggest problems we have. These days any smartphone is capable of taking a picture good enough to use in a magazine, so why it’s so difficult to get them is a mystery. Always, always, always send a picture with your story. It must be sharp and at least 500kb in file size. And make sure your picture is appropriate. For example, an appointment story about the new CEO with a shot of them on the beach in a Hawaiian shirt eating an ice cream is not really saying it! Trust me, we’ve had them.
Attach the picture in the same email as your story in jpeg format and please don’t embed them in the text. Again, it makes them difficult to work with and your story will have less chance of getting published.
There are thousands of removals, self storage and relocation companies around the world and all have their stories to tell. Sadly, only a handful do. Having your story appear in The Mover has far more kudos than a post on social media because it’s been published by us, about you. Anyone can say good things about themselves, but when it comes from someone else, it means so much more. So get that keyboard rattling and send us your stuff!
I’ll keep a close eye on my inbox.
Photo: David Jordan