Press releases are a great way to communicate your message to the press, but to get results there are a few guidelines it’s worth considering before putting finger to keyboard…
Is it newsworthy?
The kinds of things that warrant press releases are up coming events, a company anniversary or an award win or a new product or service being launched.
Post event press releases can also work, raising awareness of an event you’ve held and its success could be of interest to the press.
Where are you planning on sending it?
If it’s a local story, there’s no point in sending it to the national press. An event relevant to businesses in Buckinghamshire isn’t going to be relevant to businesses in Cambridgeshire for example, so think about who you’re targeting.
If you’re a shop offering a new service, but you only have one shop in one area it’s unlikely that it’s going to be of interest to the national press. If, on the other hand, you have a product available online which will appeal to a specific demographic such as pet owners, you should build a contact list of all the pet press who might be interested.
The writing should be engaging and tell the story succinctly – and, if written properly – can be used by a journalist as is, but images are really what bring a story to life. If you’ve got a product to launch, use a professional image to show what it looks like. If you’re sending out a press release about an event which has taken place, make sure you get some images of the event and add them to the body of the press release to get the journalists attention. Let’s be honest, how interesting is a story about an event without an image to illustrate it?
What do you do afterwards?
Journalists get hundreds of press releases every day, so it’s quite possible that yours will get lost in the ether…the trick here is persistence. When you’ve sent the press release, call the journalist to check they’ve received it and to see whether they’re interested. Even if you get a flat ‘no’ it gives you a chance to find out what might be of interest to them in the future and if you run them through the story there’s a good chance they’ll ask you to resend the press release.
Press releases shouldn’t be longer than a page
They should include a high res image
They should contain contact details should the journalist require more information
Make sure the spelling and punctuation is perfect
Make sure the details are correct, times, dates, contact information etc.
Writing press releases isn’t rocket science, but they should be seen as part of your wider PR plan.