How to Write a Press Release that Will Get Attention
You have a story to tell. A great story that people will be interested in. It could be an event, new product development or the launch of a service. Regardless, it’s something you know that others want to know about if only you can get the info to them.
You can put it on your blog and post it to your social channels, and that will help you reach the audience. But, if in addition to that, you can get someone else to tell your story, you can reach an even bigger audience and gain credibility in the process.
Earned Media Defined
In the marketing world, this is called “earned media.” Unlike advertisements, you can’t buy it. You can only get it by putting in the time and effort. It generally won’t bring in sales directly and yet it can be hugely valuable in building your reputation and reaching people you couldn’t otherwise.
The “earned” part of this is convincing someone with an audience to write about you – traditionally, this is a newspaper or media outlet. That is still a very popular option. Although there are fewer printed papers, news outlets have a strong online presence that will help reach people who have never heard of you. A press release will also help to reach bloggers and social media influencers. Although the later channels are outside of traditional news media, they are increasingly filling the role of providing news to potential customers
For more about how a PR fits into a marketing plan, check out this recent Girlfriends Talk Marketing episode with Dawn Ringle of Ringle PR.
Writing the Press Release
A great press release starts with a great story. To uncover yours ask this basic question, “So what?” Why is this something anyone would care about when there are so many things grabbing for our attention? Tell me, your reader, how this is going to affect my life.
The press release should include enough details for a complete article. Keep in mind the basic questions – Who? What? Where? When? How and especially Why?
The anatomy of a press release that will get your story noticed
A clear headline
Dozens, if not hundreds, of press releases, flood the inboxes of top editor and writers. You need to catch their attention in seconds. The headline should convey the elements of the story and why it matters.
A lead that provides just enough information to keep the reader interested
The first paragraph should be compelling, but not overwhelming. It should elaborate on why this story is of interest.
A second paragraph that includes more details and context
Include only the most important information at the top of the story. The reader should have a clear understanding of the story if not all the juicy details.
A quote from someone involved with the story
This is often the third paragraph of the press release. It’s should be a quote that a journalist could use without having to make a follow-up call. Although it is great to have an interview with a news outlet, the outlet may just pull info from the press release, so make sure there is enough info to use.
More details about the story and the context
This shouldn’t be lengthy or elaborate, but it should be comprehensive. If this is an event, make sure to include the day, time and other particulars of the event. If it is a general announcement, include several good nuggets of info.
Other things you will want to include:
Contact information: E-mail, website, text, and phone number
When the release can be printed: Usually, it’s for “immediate release.” There are times, however, that you may want to send info ahead of time. Then it would be “embargoed for DATE” Be aware, however, that once you send info to a media outlet, it’s public and can be published. If you don’t want that to happen, contact the outlet ahead of time and see if they will agree to the embargo.
Boiler Plate: A short paragraph with information about your organization.
Links: Include links to your website, links to more information, or links to relevant pages. Test the links before you send it out and then test them again!