Despite all the changes in communications over the past few years, press releases are still among the most effective marketing tools around.
With a well-written, well-timed release, you can send your company’s message to both online and print media quickly and inexpensively. A good release can enhance your company’s image and credibility in one fell swoop.
The trouble is, many press releases miss the mark and wind up in the trash—both virtually and physically.
So how do you write a press release that gets read and published? Here are five basic steps:
1. Write a Killer Headline
You just have a moment or two for an editor to decide if he or she will read your release or hit the “Delete” button. A catchy, interesting headline can make all the difference.
For example, which of these headlines would capture your interest?
- Acme Company Reveals Holiday Toy Sales Predictions (boring…)
- Braaains! Season’s Hottest Toys Capitalize on Zombie Mania
Remember that your purpose is to get your company’s name out there, but an editor’s job is to find information that will benefit his or her readership.
Provide the key information in a catchy, short headline that makes readers hungry for more (pardon the zombie pun).
2. Target Your Release to Your Audience
With a few tweaks, you can tailor a release to a website or newspaper’s readership.
Are you sending a press release about a seminar your firm is hosting? Use the same basic release for each recipient, but change the lead or the headline to focus on what is the most interesting point for that publication. Hook your reader with that specific angle.
For example, a local newspaper will want to know that the speaker graduated from the town’s high school; a national news website will want to know specific details about the new study.
3. Think Like a Reporter
Write your release in newspaper style with all the basic who, what, when, where, and why stuff near the beginning. Think about informing your reader, not selling a product or idea.
Emphasize the newsworthiness of your article. You never want to leave an editor thinking, “Why would I care about this?”
Avoid superlatives, clichés, and other fluff—let the facts speak for themselves. Although your press release can be an effective sales tool, you don’t want it to read as one. Instead, write in an objective third-person voice that is lively and informative.
4. Include Quotable Quotes
Interview the best person within your organization as a source for the release. The best quotes are statements that put something in a way that is personal and interesting.
- Don’t quote a source with attendance figures or statistics: “We predict that Acme will get 15 percent of the market share this holiday season with Zombie Guy.”
- DO quote a source’s opinions: “We’re finding that our Zombie Guy action figure has opened up a whole new market niche—teen and twenty-something males,” said Acme CEO Dale Davidson. “They’re taking them to work; they’re sticking them in their cars.”
5. Make It Easy for the Editor to Get More Information
An ideal press release is about one page long, so you must be concise in your writing.
A great way to offer additional information on the subject is to include links to websites or social media accounts. Also use targeted keyword phrases throughout your release that will take your online readers to more information about your company.
Make sure your contact information is clear and identifiable at the top of the page. Include your name, phone number, and email address. Also include the date of your release and the words “Press Release” so that your purpose is clear.
Even with the advent of social media and instant communication, a well-written press release is just as important as it was in years past. There’s so much “noise” out there—other businesses competing for the public’s attention just like you—that it’s hard to break through that noise to get the word out about what your company is up to. Start by following the five simple steps above, and you’ll have a better chance of getting your message in front of your targeted audience.
One Final Tip
Oh, and one more thing: Don’t forget to proofread your press release before you hit “Send.”
Many businesses turn to Super Copy Editors to make sure their releases are word-for-word perfect. You’d be amazed at the embarrassing errors we catch that others missed. Contact us now for pricing details.