Let’s say you’re launching a new program or service and you want to write a press release that will grab the attention of your customers and the media. Here’s what you DO NOT want to do:
XYZ Company announced the today the release of its new program blah, blah, blah.
Ho-hum press releases start this way, and that’s why most of them end up in the virtual trash bin. Here are 7 tips that will help you score business with your press release:
1. Make it about them, not you
You want to spread the word, generate leads, increase sales, raise awareness, etc. Publicity is a wonderful way to accomplish those goals but getting it is easier said than done.
That’s because reporters don’t care about helping you reach your goals or sell your products or services. They want a story that’s interesting and provides value to their audience and they are eager to befriend anyone who can make their job easier. It’s the same with customers. They want to know what challenge you can help them solve. What pain point can you eliminate for them?
So before you even write your press release, ask yourself:
Is this information truly newsworthy?
Why would people care about this?
2. Get the point, NOW
What is the most important and exciting thing you have to say? Don’t waste anytime saying it! Put it in a concise and compelling headline, then lead the release with relevant facts (making sure to address the who, what, when, where, why & how). Forget about the hype. You can save that for your sales copy.
3. Back it Up
Use facts, figures and experts to back up your message. Be thorough enough to make your case in a few paragraphs or less, and opt for plain English over jargon.
4. Make it Human
Provide real examples of how you have affected someone else’s life. Use quotes, anecdotes and photos to add color, movement and human interest to your news.
5. Keep it Brief
How long is your draft press release? Two pages is reasonable, one page is best. Once you’ve got the first draft written, take a break. When you revisit the release, look for redundancies, eliminate promotional words or phrases and find opportunities to improve brevity.
An entire industry exists on search engine optimization, the mysterious art of ranking high in unpaid or natural search results. An optimized news release can translate into additional press and increased traffic to your website. A basic understanding of keywords can help improve the online visibility of your press release (stay tuned for tips on optimizing your press release).
7. Always Get a Second Opinion
Get a professional proofreader to review your final draft for typos, proper grammar and spelling (do not rely on spell check), syntax, format, flow and AP style.