Over the years, I’ve been on both ends of the press release process, as a representative for marketing clients and as a freelance writer. During that time, I have seen parallels between the press release process and our great blue earth.
Press Releases: Stepping on Dry Land
If social media is an ever-fluctuating ocean, publications and news outlets are stable islands. To gain the attention and trust of your prospective audience, you need to mix the organic, crowd-sourced power of social media with the more predictable, formal announcements from local publications.
Make Some Waves
Press releases usually evoke a specific mindset. You might think of a big event at a big organization that someone writes up and distributes through formal channels. While this is the typical process, press releases can be used effectively in micro-settings by getting small to medium size organizations in front of local news.
Statistically, more people trust local news more than national outlets. So, if you want to target a local audience, a press release can get your story into valuable local articles. Each of the following releases can attract the attention of local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, social media influencers, and blogs.
Types of Press Releases
- General News
- Launch Release
- Event Press Release
- Product Press Release
- Staff Changes
Depending on your story, you need to select the appropriate contacts and send them a release announcing your news.
A Fish Out of Water
Journalists, bloggers, and influencers are like anyone else. They appreciate it when you make their job easier for them. A solid press release encourages them to pick up your story because it is both newsworthy and easy to understand. Additionally, the release should give the impression of exclusivity and professionalism. If you make it easy to follow up on the story, they’re more likely to respond.
Parts of a Press Release
- Your letterhead or logo helps the reader identify the source of the story.
- Your contact information sits at the top of the document. Ensure that it goes directly to a person who can answer questions.
- The “For Immediate Release” text alerts the reader to the purpose of the document.
- The headline and sub-headline precede the main portion of your text. They should intrigue the reader and summarize the story.
- The dateline starts your body copy with the date, city, and state. See the most current AP guidelines to format.
- Body copy explains your announcement in just a few paragraphs. Try to make it very usable for a journalist by answering the main news questions who, what, where, when, why.
- A quote from the main subject of the story should be included as an on-the-record statement.
- Boilerplate copy is a strategic statement succinctly describing your organization.
- ### signals the end of the piece to the journalist. If your release is longer than one page, insert –more– at the bottom of each page
Do You Need Help?
Navigating this situation may make you feel like a fish out of water. By working with someone who has experience with the process, you can feel confident in both the newsworthiness of your story and the presentation of the release.
Recently, I helped one of my clients prepare a press release for a grand opening at one of their locations. The story was immediately picked up by several local publications and a few relevant influencers. By making the press release compelling and easy-to-follow, those writers could see that the story had value.
Putting together a press release gets you in front of highly-trusted, local publications. Start generating some publicity by turning your upcoming events into news.
- Generate Publicity With These Six Types Of Press Releases, from Forbes
- Is Sending Out a Press Release Really Worth the Money?, from Entrepreneur
- 30 Reasons to Write a Press Release, from Entrepreneur
- 5 Questions on the Future of the Press Release, from AdWeek