8 Steps To Get Your Press Release Noticed
You’re writing a press release for your business. Piece of cake, right? Simply report the product launch, rebrand, or whatever else is newsworthy.
Not so fast. A lukewarm press release just disseminates information; a great press release will get picked up by the media and circulated widely, which helps promote the news your company wants to share.
Here are eight steps to writing a press release that gets noticed, rather than composted.
- Who cares? Press releases cross reporters’ desks (or Inboxes) by the bushelful, every day of the week. Why should they care about yours? The key to a successful release, whether you target traditional media, online media, or both, is knowing what journalists, bloggers, and other content creators/curators want. How will your information benefit their audience? You need to give them the WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me?). A WIIFM means, first, creating a press release that’s relevant and useful, not simply hyping your brand. Second, the news should be pertinent to this particular publication. Focus on the impact your news makes for your industry, and specifically, for your target audience, which ideally dovetails with the publication’s readership.
- Keep it real. Are you just reporting facts, or does your news lend itself to a real-life example? When the reporter can lead with a consumer story that has changed a life, the release becomes exponentially more valuable, because you’ve just made their job ten times easier. The same holds true with new research in science, medicine, technology, etc.: if you can show how this information will alter people’s lives or change their business, it makes the press release immediately useful for the reporter.
- Make it digitally relevant. While you may be pitching print publications, or sources that have both print and digital versions, be mindful that this is not the age of print. Whereas once, public relations meant mailing a press release to targeted journalists who covered your industry, today the PR landscape spans print and online media, with a vast array of tools and apps to support getting the word out. Include multimedia assets with your release, such as video or podcast links, graphs and images that will grab attention and can be used in multiple media. The journalists will appreciate the effort you’ve made to make their job easier.
- Master the sound bite. Journalists need to fill their columns with interesting, useful information every day/week/month. So do bloggers and social media sites. It’s tremendously helpful to have experts on tap that they can call or email for quick quotes and background material. Can you offer a C-suite resource from your company who journalists can contact when they need an expert quote for a story? Bonus: your brand will get mentioned in the media even when you haven’t sent a press release. And expert quotes carry a lot of weight.
- Get to know them. One of the best ways to get your release noticed is to build relationships with the key publications or other media outlets in your industry. Reach out when you don’t have a release to share, introduce yourself, and find out what types of information the journalists want most. Be mindful of quid pro quo. Though most journalists don’t subscribe to this kind of exchange on ethical grounds, being supportive is always a boon. Perhaps, for example, you can post some other story from their publication on your company’s Facebook or Twitter feed.
- Stand in their shoes. It’s never just about a single story. What industry stories have the publications you’re targeting been following? How can your news fit into this thematic cycle? Again, thinking of your press release from the journalist’s perspective will help you stand out.
- Compel from the top. An extraordinary headline ensures your release won’t immediately be relegated to the recycle bin. What’s the most compelling aspect of what you have to share? If a new medication has the potential to reduce chronic pain, and clinical trials have already found it to be effective in 76 percent of patients, that’s your headline: New drug cures pain in 76% at clinical trial. Then you can delve into how it works, how it was developed, etc. First, deliver the wow factor for their audience.
- Spel rite or luz out. Okay, those typos are over the top to prove a point, but it’s easy enough to accidentally send out a release with spelling or grammatical errors, especially when autocorrect so often isn’t. Re-read your press release carefully before you hit Send, checking not just for spelling but also syntax: is there a better, tighter way of writing a certain sentence? The cleaner and clearer the copy, the more likely the journalist is to read and run your release—and to want to work with you in the future.