Quite possibly one of the most difficult subjects we’ve covered, writing a press release that will get attention and achieve results is not an easy task. Let’s start by covering what a press release is and why you should bother creating them.
A written statement directed at members of the news media to announce something newsworthy, in the hope that it will be picked up, considered interesting and relevant and then processed into editorial coverage for your business.
You may have heard of marketing being split into two categories, ‘above-the-line’ and ‘below-the-line’. Above-the-line (sometimes abbreviated to ATL) marketing refers to paid advertising, for example a newspaper or magazine advert. Below-the-line (BTL) marketing refers to PR activity where you focus efforts on gaining editorial coverage of your business. We recommend negotiating with all suppliers of paid advertising to include some editorial coverage as part of the package.
Another way of describing the split would be to say that advertising is what you say about yourself, and editorial coverage is what others are saying about you. Creating a press release that is interesting and well populated will make the job of anyone handling it easier, and will help with your chances of getting your story featured.
Once it’s created, you might be wondering who to actually send your press release to. We recommend spending time networking and building relationships with local journalists and radio stations as well as bloggers and vloggers. Gather details and start to build a database (perhaps in a spreadsheet) where you can record your contacts update to keep track of these important relationships. Be patient and persistent. Journalists receive hundreds of emails every day and yours may be lost in a sea of others, so work hard on those relationships and try to ensure you’re directing your emails at the most relevant people. Bloggers and vloggers can be extremely useful to small businesses and depending on their audience size, they are probably going to be far more approachable and far more likely to respond to your communication.
The date of your press release
A punchy and concise headline
Short overview (30-40 words)
Photograph (good quality but not a huge file that will bog down mail servers)
Detailed information (up to 400 words)
A quote to provide insight, perspective and opinion
A boilerplate section which briefly overviews your business and it’s USPs
Contact details for information
Have a think about whether your press release will be interesting to the audience you’re sending it to. Does it contain anything new or exciting? Is it something people will want to know about? If the answer is no, either re-write the release or consider holding off until you have something really compelling.