So lady, you have some news about your business that you want to share with the world? Shouting it from the rooftops will only take the message so far. So how else can you get the word out? Social media’s a great way to reach your already-captive audience, but what people who haven’t heard about you yet? A press release, which can be a great way to attract some legit media coverage and raise your business’s public profile, might be the answer. But how do you know for sure when it’s the right avenue, and what are the necessary steps for putting a press release out? I’ve been on both the sending and receiving end of the publicity process. Here are some insights I’ve gained along the way. When to write a press release A press release is an official, and efficient, vehicle for conveying news to journalists. It allows you to include all the information you want - and none that you don’t - and frame your message for maximum impact. Journalists will a press release to decide whether to pursue an article and they’ll often take details directly from the release for their story. But before you get started, first, take a step back and ask yourself whether the information you have to share actually counts as news. Is it unique and/or innovative? Can you imagine reading about it in the local paper? If the answer’s no, it’s probably not press release-worthy. If it passes the newsworthy smell test, it’s time to get writing.
K.I.S.S. Keep your prose simple and to the point. Journalists get inundated every day with press releases about all kinds of events and other news. If they can’t figure out what the main point of your release is and assess its newsworthiness within a few sentences, they’ll hit the delete button without a second thought. Include all the details, from most to least important, and try not to get bogged down with too many adjectives. Words like “amazing” and “unique” are not going to be dealbreakers when it comes to a reporter deciding whether or not to write about your business. Instead, let the news speak for itself. If you’re stuck, search around for examples of press releases online to see how they’re written and the type of information they include. Many business and organizations have a “news” section on their websites where recent press releases will be posted.
Time to pitch Once you’re done, do some research on journalists you think might be interested. Look for stories that are similar to the one you’re pitching and send it directly to those reporters. You’ll have a better shot at getting your story picked up if you send your release to an individual rather than a mass email address.
It takes some work, but it’s all worth it to see your name in print and think about the thousands of readers being introduced to your business. The value of that kind of publicity is priceless.