When you know that your product or service is newsworthy, you want major publications to write about it – so it’s not surprising that you’re feeling frustrated if nobody has responded after sending press release after press release to bloggers and journalists.
If this sounds like your situation, then it could have something to do with the basics of your press release. If you want to write a press release specifically for your product that you can also use as a strong marketing tool, read on to find out how.
Craft an irresistible headline:
A captivating, interesting headline sets the stage for your press release to be successful. It needs to be interesting enough that it stands out from the crowds of other press releases that journalists and bloggers receive every day. This can be tricky, but keep it short, simple and to the point while using clear language and interesting action verbs.
Get straight to the news:
Journalists – and top bloggers – are almost always pressed for time, so if they have to sit and read through several paragraphs before finally getting to what your press release is actually about, you can be sure that they’ve just tossed it before getting to the good bit. Make sure that you include the five Ws – who, what, when, where and why – in the first paragraph when you write a press release. Along with the ‘how’, this will make it easier for journalists to quickly gauge the relevance of your story to their audience and make a quick decision.
Getting straight to the facts and saving the journalist’s time may be what pays off in the form of your release getting picked up by many publications.
Include some quotable quotes:
Once you get to the second or third paragraph in your press release, it’s good to insert a couple of quotes from your top official, key stakeholders in your company, or a spokesperson – these quotes should place emphasis on the core of the announcement.
Avoid simply quoting facts, though – the best quotes should provide analysis or a company perspective, providing a detailed image of how the announcement is relevant or how it impacts the industry, the consumer or even the economy.
Provide detailed background information:
As you get closer to your final paragraph it’s time to start thinking about how you can provide some detail that will add to the narrative. For example, you could provide some interesting background information on how the company came up with the product idea or developed it, or write about the future implications or applications of your product.
However, the key here is to avoid including any superfluous information. A good press release will not leave out any important information, while still being succinct.
Include your boilerplate to conclude:
A boilerplate is standardized copy about your organization that should appear at the end of every press release. You should conclude with this and clearly explain what your company does, it’s size, presence, and key locations. You should also add in a link to your company website and your social media profiles.
Focus on adding value:
Sadly, regardless of how well-written your press release is, the fact is the 99% of press releases go ignored and unresponded to. So, what can you do to make journalists stand up and take notice? Clever email copy won’t work here – but putting together the right content will. You need to focus on creating content that provides value, not only to the journalist but also to the publication itself. Take the time to first understand what the press wants, and then create your content accordingly.
According to statistics, around 70% of journalists prefer to collaborate on topics compared to receiving a finished product, as this allows them to mold the story to suit their readership – keep this in mind.
Define your goals:
If you want to ensure that your press release is published and start using it as a powerful marketing tool, you’ll need to define your goals. Your PR goals could be anything from getting more customers to improving SEO or increasing brand and/or product awareness. Take the time to define your goals clearly; keeping these in mind when writing your press release enables you to not only keep it in line with what the press wants, but what your business needs to achieve objectives.
Generate content ideas:
The content is the most important part of this entire process – so before you start brainstorming, make sure that you are keeping the reader in mind. This is especially crucial when it comes to journalists who tend to prefer specific content types. Come with tried and tested methods that have been proven to work with journalists in the past, such as breaking news, exclusive research, emotional stories or highly relevant content. Although you want your story to be about your product, bear in mind that few journalists will find products alone worth writing about unless it’s extremely innovative and new.
Get your target right:
Finally, targeting the right journalist is crucial to making everything work for you. Getting a pitch that’s not even related to what they do can be really irritating for a journalist, so be sure to do your research first and make sure that you’re pitching your press release to the right people. And, journalists are inundated with irrelevant pitches, so don’t expect the wrong person to forward your pitch on to the right one.
And, you should always target individual journalists rather than publications, as it’s the journalist who is going to eventully write and publish your story. Don’t make the mistake of filling I the standard form or email address at the publication’s website where they ask users to submit pitches, and don’t directly email the editor either. Unless you’ve got some really ground-breaking content to share, it’s unlikely that the editor is going to take much notice of your story. Getting in touch with the right journalist directly is by far your best bet.
A successful press release that journalists pick up and turn into successful news stories can be a significant marketing tool for your brand, so keep these strategies in mind to make it happen.