Editor’s Note: This blog post is Part One of a two-part series.
A press release is a way to introduce your business/product or service to the media. When it comes to writing a press release for your business, you should understand what it requires for an editor, reporter, or any journalist to even wantto read what you send them. If there is interest, the release could turn into a story, or be published. Before I get into the heart of powerful press release writing, let me make a few points very clear.
- There isn’t a “secret” formula to writing a press release. When writing your release, it is important to know and use what are called the “Five W’s”: What, who, where, when, and why.
- A press release is NOT an advertisement. Keep away from “selling” your product or service. Don’t write a release the same as you would an advertisement. Your release is going to the media, not potential or existing customers.
- Releases are NOT articles. Look at articles in your trade and consumer media. These are not press releases, but stories.
No two businesses are the same. This is also true of press releases. The only formula that applies is having a solid headline, dateline, opening paragraph, body paragraphs, boilerplate, and contact information.
Do’s and Don’ts
The news media has a list of do’s and don’ts when receiving press releases. Above all, make sure it’s newsworthy. Here are some examples of newsworthiness:
- Announcing a new product or service
- Working with a charity or making a charitable contribution
- Starting a new division or acquiring another company
- Releasing a study about your industry and how it affects your business
- Sponsoring an event or having a grand opening
- Taking your company public or announcing stock offerings
- Rebranding or reorganizing your company
- Hiring a new executive
- Hosting a seminar
- Opening a new office or relocating your headquarters
These are just a few of the types of releases considered by the media to be newsworthy. Read and study other published releases, not all of them are good, but it will help you understand what that specific publication considers to be newsworthy.
The Voice of the Press Release
Be sure to limit adjectives and adverb usage. Stay away from adjectives such as “exciting,” “fabulous,” “game changer,” or “revolutionary” to mention a few. Using adverbs like “really,” “extremely,” or “very” do not enhance the release.
Another biggie: don’t use exclamation marks. And when making a statement or an opinion, be sure to support it. Providing facts or referring to other studies or experts, it will give the release credibility.
Write your release to match the audience. If you’re announcing a new product, make sure it is sent to media specific to that industry. It’s okay to modify the release to apply to different industries.
In Part 2, we will discuss catchy headlines, the best day of the week to distribute a release, how to make your release SEO ready, and how to rank high using keywords and phrases.