Considering a press release? Here's the guide you need!
What is modern press release?
Essentially, press release still uses the same principles it has always used, except that its reach is broader and a lot more possibilities can happen. A classic press release was just that - they were distributed throughout the newswire to reach desks of journalists in the hope that one of them will pick it up and create a story about it. The same still applies today. A press release is still distributed through media channels, but you can also publish your press release on the internet, sometimes even for free.
A press release these days can be distributed throughout the internet. You can use various tools and platforms to widen your reach. You can use Search Engine Optimization to utilize search engines for more reach. You can also use social media marketing to boost your press release campaign even further. The options are bigger and better now. And a successful press release distribution can still make a business a success overnight.
How do you write a press release?
The success of your press release distribution relies on how two things: the correct press release writing and the press release distribution. Let’s start with how to write a successful press release. Follow the steps below.
1. Have a newsworthy story.
The general rule of thumb is if you don’t have a story interesting or worthy enough for your audience to read, don’t bother writing and distributing a press release. For a press release to be successful, it needs to be relevant, interesting, and useful. Don’t waste your time and resources trying to tell something that people don’t have an interest in. One angle you need to consider is the human interest. Why would people be interested in your story? Does your story show how it can impact people? Can it benefit them?
Here are some newsworthy topics fit for a press release distribution:
2. Answer all the W questions.
Another black and white rule for a press release is that it should answer all of the “6 W’s”: who, what, when, where, and how.
Who - Who are the primary players in your story? Is it you or your company? Who does your story affect or benefit?
What - What is it about? What is new about your business?
Why - Why does your news affect people? Why would they want to know about it?
Where - Where is the story happening?
When - Is it current? If it is a product launch, when will it be available?
How - How did the story come about?
Here’s an example of a press release that answers all of the 6 W’s.
Who: Telecom Industries and Communication Global.
What: Company merger to Telecom Global.
Why: To merge two independent entities to become a global conglomerate.
Where: New York, USA
When: August 19, 2018
How: Telecom Industries acquired Communication Global in a merger agreement for $23 billion.
3. Use the inverted pyramid format.
Essentially, writing a press release is like writing a news copy in itself. When you distribute your press release to journalists, it’s only common sense to write it in the language and the way that they are used to. Using the answers to all 6 W’s, you can begin to structure your press release in the classic inverted pyramid format. The inverted pyramid format allows for the most vital information to be told first. Here’s an example format you can follow:
4. Write a great headline.
Your press release headline is the first (and often last) thing that people will read. This one line containing a few short characters can make and break your press release campaign’s success. So it is crucial that your headline grabs attention immediately. Go straight to the point and use clear, easy language that anyone can understand. Use action words.
5. Use the third person voice.
Remember, if you are writing your press release with the purpose of distributing it to the media, it’s important to do it in a way they will understand. It’s best to write your press release in the third person point of view.
6. Use one story per press release.
We’re going to say it again: a press release should be clear and concise. This applies to your news as well. If you’re finding yourself writing on a second page, then you probably have more than one story. Recognize when a story starts and when it ends and trim it to the basics. Don’t try to manipulate it and weave a weaker narrative to your already newsworthy story. And if you absolutely have to add more details and information, you can include it in the editor’s or author’s note at the bottom of your press release.
7. Use a great quote.
When it comes to any kind of news, a good human angle always makes the biggest difference. Once you've written your story and explain what it is all about, it’s always a great idea to put some context into it. A great quote will help paint a clearer picture of how your story affects people. Ideally, you should get quotes from relevant and popular figures of your business or industry. Pick one or two critical spokesperson that provides great insight for your story to make it more appealing to your audience.
8. Make the last paragraph count.
If the heading and the first paragraph of a press release set the tone and lay the foundation for your news copy, the last paragraph should wrap it up effectively. Since your reader already has all the vital information about your news, you should use the last paragraph to include vital background information about yourself or your business. Point your audience in a direction where they can follow-up. Don’t leave your press release hanging.
9. Personalize your press release distribution.
Once you’ve successfully written the most effective news copy that you can possibly write, it’s time to start thinking about press distribution. Journalists, as you can well imagine, receive dozens, if not hundreds of press release pitches per day. Don’t just send them an attachment of your press release. Write a personalized email to reach out to them. It always pays to be nice.
10. Attach relevant images or multimedia to your press release.
The human brain processes image 100,000 times faster than it does text. You should capitalize on this and make use of images or videos that are relevant to your press release. This is also an excellent way to make your copy more attractive. But don’t post too many photos or multimedia. One or two is enough. Furthermore, if you really want to capitalize on your press release and if you have something more valuable to say, you can utilize infographics into your story. Infographics can contain more details and information and present it in a way that is faster and easier to digest.
Who do you send your press release to?
When it comes to sending out your press release, the easiest thing to assume is to send it out to as many people as you can. However, this is where you can go wrong and waste valuable time and effort. The most successful press release campaigns involve researched targetting. It’s critical that you research the press and media that are more likely to have an interest in writing your story. This also helps you tailor down your press release.
Depending on your press release’s target reach, you can send them out to:
How do you send out a press release?
These days, a press release can be sent directly to journalists’ email addresses. Once you’ve done your research and know who you want to take your press release pitch to, you can send them a personalized email. Make the subject line interesting and attention-grabbing, since this is the first thing they will see. And try not to send your press release as an attachment as this can flag your mail as spam. Paste it directly on the message body in a neat format and a clear font.
Should you use paid distribution services?
If you want your press release to reach as many people as possible, or if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can always hire a press release distribution service from a PR and marketing company. In fact, it is advisable that you do. The truth is, a press release is better off being written and distributed by professionals.
A PR company can write your press release in the most effective way since the writers are either journalists or who have studied it in the first place. PR companies also have long established relationships with media partners and press groups that make for broader and personalized PR distribution. Paid distribution services have the notoriety of being expensive. But this is not entirely true. Yes, if you’re willing to invest in the best services you can afford, some PR companies do charge a hefty price. However, there are quite a number of reputable agencies that offer affordable price points depending on any need and budget. You just have to look for the perfect fit.
The best thing, perhaps, of a press release distribution is that not only can it benefit any type and any size business, but it can also do no harm. A press release offers a win-win situation for your business and has an excellent return on investment. And that is not only the best thing it can do for your business. A successful press release can give your business online exposure and lead conversions. It can literally put your business on the map. It is also an excellent way to build and establish relationships with your target audience. There is really no denying that a press release can benefit your business in the most amazing ways.