Press releases used to be a critical part of every marketing strategy. Today, they seem to be an afterthought. But they shouldn’t be.
If press releases aren’t in your marketing toolbox, you could be missing out. They’re cost effective (often free), give you an opportunity to reach a targeted or global audience, and you get to control the message.
Before we talk about tips for writing press releases or media releases as they’re sometimes called, let’s look at three frequently asked questions:
- “What do you write about?”
- “How do you write a press release?”
- “Where do you post your press release?”
3 PR Tips for a Writing a Press Release Effectively
What do you write about in a press release?
We’ve all had those moments when we’re sitting at the computer staring at a blank screen wondering what to write about. When it comes to press releases, the topics are endless. You can write about almost anything that’s happening in your business. To see for yourself, check out this list of 61 press ideas.
The most obvious press release topics include; breaking news, product launches, company events, mergers and acquisitions, a new office or location, unique uses for your products, hiring key staff, and crisis management. That’s a ton of options!
But you can also dig deeper and write about your company’s response to the coronavirus crisis, social responsibility, or green practices. Tell a story about your community outreach, charities, donations, and how your company is championing a cause. Create a list of the changes and trends going on in your industry and write about how you’re reacting to them. One idea will inspire another. Then add them to your PR editorial calendar, even if it’s on a tentative basis.
How do you write a press release?
For many people, not knowing how to write a press release can be the greatest roadblock to writing. Remember, this isn’t your AP English class. It’s not creative writing and no haikus are required either!
Everything you need to learn about how to write a press release is at your fingertips. There are hundreds of resources online that can guide you through the writing process. Here’s a template for How to Write a Winning Press Release from my blog which gives you detailed instructions. Browse around and you’ll find real and sample press releases, often grouped by type — new product, charity work, new hire, etc.
The best press releases have a message that’s clear and organized. Your first sentence should summarize the reason for your release. For example: “Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 third quarter ended June 27, 2020.”
The body of your press release should provide decreasing levels of information — the most important at the top and the least at the bottom. If your release is edited, it will most likely be cut from the bottom up.
You’ll also want to include a quote from the owner, project manager or CFO. And whenever possible, add images and video for better engagement and organic SEO. A closing sentence or two about your company at the end of each release is also recommended.
Overwhelmed with the press release process?
Don’t worry — you can download templates that will pretty much do all the work for you. Pressfarm and Coschedule offer free downloadable templates and are resources you’ll want to bookmark. Just find the most appropriate sample release and mirror the style.
Where do you post your press release?
- Post press releases on your website. Many sites have a ‘What’s New’ or a “News and Events” tab. If your press release is well written and peppered with strategic keyword phrases, you’ll benefit by sharing valuable content and get a boost of SEO juice.
- Influence customers and prospects. Target the audience who will most likely benefit from your news, whether it’s a new product or a promotion. Companies want to know that they’ve made a wise decision working with you, so press releases provide validation. Prospects also want to work with ‘winners’ who are in the news.
- Share your news on social media. Write creative copy and include a shortened press release link in your posts. Give people a reason to visit your website and find out more. The more consistent you are sending media releases, the more frequently you’ll show up in search engines.
- Reach out to journalists. Reporters are always looking for story ideas. Send a personal email to each writer or editor by name, include a catchy subject line and pitch your press release for a story. Then, follow up in a few days. Create a list of top reporters in your industry and start connecting. It takes time to build like, know, trust and believability.
Finally, here’s a no-cost PR resource you’ll love; Top 10 Free Press Release Distribution Websites to share your news online. For greater and more targeted paid coverage, you can upload your release to sites like Newswire, Releasewire and PRNewswire.
The power of the press release is underrated. Start by writing one press release a month to share news and get attention. Generate free publicity. Get a leg up on your competition. Control the narrative.