There’s nothing more fundamental to an effective public relations strategy than the press release. The media landscape and delivery mechanisms may have changed radically over the past 20+ years, but the press release has never gone out of style nor lost its value – if it’s done correctly.
Three years ago this month we wrote about press releases (“ 5 Tips to Getting Your Press Release Published”). We thought it might be a good time to revisit the topic with some new tips.
1. Make the reporter’s life easier.
Most reporters are extremely busy, writing multiple stories a day. Others are, well, a bit energy-challenged. The less work they have to do, the more likely they are to cover a press release. To make their lives easier, be sure to include all the pertinent facts in your press release. Write the press release as though it were a finished news story ready for publication. Don’t make it necessary for the reporter to call you with follow-up questions. But if the reporter does…
2. Make yourself available.
If a reporter calls with a follow-up question, jump on it! Don’t make the reporter wait for a response. If they’re on deadline, provide an immediate emailed response (nothing makes a reporter’s job easier than cutting and pasting a quote into their article) or set an exact time for a phone interview.
3. Make it newsworthy.
Of course your press release is self-serving. But in order to get published, it also has to be newsworthy. That means whatever you’re promoting must be interesting to others, not just to you or your company. Think about whether you’ve ever seen a story like yours published in the media outlets you’re targeting. For instance, if you’re issuing a press release on the fact that your head of sales will be speaking at a conference, consider whether any of your target publications has ever covered news of that sort. If they haven’t, there’s a good chance they won’t be covering the news in your press release.
4. Provide good quotes.
Make sure quotes in your press release sound like a real person said them, not like a canned quote. If you’re not sure about a quote, read it out loud. Does it sound authentic, or fake? If you can get a customer to provide a quote for your press release, that’s even better.
5. Write a bold or provocative headline.
Now is not the time to be modest. You want reporters to immediately pay attention to your press release and why it’s worth their interest. Reporters read a ton of press releases every day. If your headline doesn’t excite them, they may stop reading and move onto the next one.
6. Eliminate jargon.
If the reporter doesn’t understand what you’re saying quickly and easily, the chances are pretty good your news release will be skipped. Jargon-laden press releases may cut it with one or two industry reporters, but if you’re looking for wider coverage, it’s important to write in plain English that anyone can understand.
7. Timing helps.
Releasing a press release on Friday afternoon at 3 pm will significantly reduce the coverage your press release gets. This may work in your favor if you need to issue a press release on a topic that will negatively impact your business. But if you want optimal exposure, aim for days and times when people are likely to be in the office and focused on business. Mid-morning and early afternoon are best.
Seek professional help. Not everyone can write a professional press release, so don’t be shy about getting help from a PR agency. Not only can we help you write a great press release, we can make sure it gets optimal coverage. To find out how we can help, contact us at Info@StrategicVantage.com or call (305) 971-6239.
By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage