If you want publicity, you should consider writing news releases. A well-written release can dramatically increase your sales and greatly enhance the image of your business or products.
According to PR Week, figures show one dollar invested in PR returns an average of about $6, whereas one dollar invested in mass market TV advertising might yield about $1.25.
While no one can guarantee your press release will be published or used for an article, here are twelve ways to greatly improve your chances. (Number thirteen would be to get Press Release Success and have the templates and software to make the job easy.)
1. Make it newsworthy: A big mistake usually made with a press release is to send something that is of little concern to your targeted audience. Not only will your story most likely not get published, it may also label your company as one that submits irrelevant information.
A press release can, however, be used to announce interesting news, awards, new hires, new products, services or company achievements. Are you putting an event together? Did you recently open a new office? Did you win an award? All of these are examples of situations where a press release would be appropriate.
2. Sharp story angle: If you want your press release to get published, you need to think like a reporter. Ask yourself what you can do to make the material useful to a journalist and be of real interest to the reporter and the public you are trying to reach.
3. Short and to the point: A press release should be about a page long. If it is longer than that, it is too wordy and your main message may get lost in the details.
4. Start strong: If a reporter were only to read the first paragraph of your press release, he/she should be able to know exactly what it is about. The first paragraph of your press release should tell the main story and the rest of the document can elaborate, giving examples and important contact information.
5. The 5 W’s…and 1 H: A press release should contain all of the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How elements.
6. Jargon jumble: Avoid industry jargon unless you are targeting specific industry publications where it would make sense to do so. You may know what acanthamoeba keratitis is, but chances are most of your readers won’t.
7. Quote manners: If you quote someone or mention another business name in your press release, it is best to get permission first. If you quote someone without their permission it may lead to problems and possibly keep your press release from being published.
8. Do something extraordinary: This does not mean you need to bungee jump off the Brooklyn Bridge (although that would be a way to get press as well); rather it means do something beyond your normal business services, like donate to a charity, organize a fundraiser for a worthy cause, or volunteer for a community service project.
A simple mention of what your business does or making someone at your business the contact person is a perfect way to not only do a good thing, but also get your business name in front of potential customers.
9. Submission selection: Be selective as to where you submit your press release. If you have a story that is only relevant to Dallas, don’t submit to the national publications.
You should also be selective as to which reporters you send your press release. If your story is about elder care, don’t submit to a reporter that only covers the arts and entertainment. A public relations firm, such as Cherry Communications, can be very helpful in this regard because they have access to comprehensive media databases so they can target a specific audience that will give you the best results.
10. Medium variety: Distribute your press release to a wide variety of mediums such as newspapers, journals, podcasts, magazines, newsletters, blogs, web sites, radio and television. Use your best judgment as to which mediums are the most appropriate for your particular press release.
11. Keep ‘em happy: Send your press release in the format the reporter prefers. Some reporters ask that their press releases come via email; others want them faxed, while others prefer the U.S. Mail. This is a simple way to start off on the right foot with a reporter.
12. Become an expert: New stories are coming up every day and media departments want experts to call. If you are one of the first ones to become a local expert in your field, you will become the go-to person for reporters looking for information for their articles.
In the end, it isn’t too difficult to write a press release, but getting it noticed and published can be tricky. With these 12 tips and the assistance of a of a DIY resource including Press Release Success, you will be well on your way to bringing in new business.
© Copyright 2012 Shannon Cherry, APR, MA