A successful press release can lead to articles and drive new business and prospects to your company. Keep track of your new leads with a simple CRM and sales tracking tool like Base.
Public relations is a good component of any marketing plan. But what exactly does that entail? While you’ll get different answers from PR folks, essentially PR includes press releases published online, as well as media mentions of your brand. Today we’ll talk about writing press releases.
Step 1: What’s Your News?
Before writing your release, you will, of course, need news! This could be any number of topics (but does not include self-promotion).
- New product launch
- Company launch
- Won an award
- Secured a (significant) client
- Participating in community event
- Donation to charity
I’m not sure why people have trouble coming up with topics. As long as your company is active, there’s always something to write about.
Go back to grade school for this next task:
- Who does your news cover?
- What happened?
- When does/did it occur?
- Where does/did it occur?
- Why do readers care?
Step 2: Fit the Format
Press releases have a pretty specific format (visit PRWeb to see samples), and once you get used to it, you’ll find it easy to plug in your information.
In the first paragraph, you want all the who, what, when, where and why information. Assume readers don’t read beyond the first paragraph; you need everything they care about at the start.
The subsequent 2-4 paragraphs will support the basics. Include details on the event, and what people can expect from the news.
Quotes are a must: they enhance the story and give it a human element. Find someone involved in the news (maybe that’s the CEO or maybe it’s a client) and get a short quote that adds some dimension to the release.
Note: saying “We’re really excited about this” is not the kind of quote you’re looking for!
Step 3: Round Out the Release
Include an About X Company section at the end of the release. Here you’ll give a brief summary about your company, what’s probably on your About Us page on your website, as well as a link to your site.
Make sure to include contact information. This would be the phone number and email of the person who would have more information about the news. Usually, that’s someone in your public relations or marketing department, but it might be someone else. If you’re not ready to answer questions about the news, find the person who is.
Step 4: Review
Seems common sense, but it’s critical that you review your release for grammatical errors and typos. Make sure the links go where they’re supposed to go, and that you have the right phone number for your contact. Your release won’t have the impact you want it to if the links and contact information is incorrect!
Step 5: Distribute It
I talked before about the two things you can do with a press release, so I won’t go into that again. But my assumption is that you want to distribute the release so journalists and potential customers can find it online.
I always recommend PRWeb for distribution, but there are other options. Once you’re set up with an account, you can purchase press release distribution at different levels, and with different numbers of bells and whistles (I prefer PRWeb’s $199 package because you can include hyperlinks in the release).
Online distribution means that the service you use sends your release to different news and industry sites that subscribe to press release services. Instantly, your release will be live on dozens, if not hundreds, of websites. PRWeb includes some easy analytics that help you know how many people viewed the release, and where it appeared online.
You can also send your press release to journalists in the hopes that they want to write about your company. Save the really juicy news for them and avoid bombarding them with news that probably won’t make a splash with their readers. When pitching a journalist, include a hyperlink to your release within the body of the email, rather than sending an attachment. They’ll appreciate it.
Plan your press release strategy for the next quarter. While you may not know ahead of time what news you’ll have, you can have a few story ideas that will keep you churning out at least a press release a month.