If you think your business is newsworthy then sending a carefully crafted press release could be a fantastic way to generate free publicity. You can never guarantee that your submission will be used but this article covers what to do (and not to do) to maximise your chances, ideas for your release, and a free press release example to download and use as a template.
A press release is a document sent to newspapers to provide them with information about events, product releases and other newsworthy information about a business.
A press release could benefit your business by:
Press releases should form part of your marketing plan and be thought about in advance. What events and milestones do you have coming up that will be worthy of the news? Make sure that it is ‘news’ - something new or unusual and something that people outside your business will care about. If you don’t have a story, don’t force it, you’re better off waiting until you do.
Spend some time looking at newspapers for examples of other businesses that have been featured and think about where your story would fit. Is it suitable for national news or local? Who is your target audience and what publications do they read? Would it be best in the travel supplement or maybe in gift ideas?
Press releases are written in the third person and should be factual. Include a quote from a key person - this is the only part that should be opinion-based. Focus on writing a strong headline and including all the key details - the most important and eye-catching first. You’ll only have a few seconds to grab people’s attention and if they only read the first sentence or two what would you want them to know? Every sentence should be written with the purpose of getting the reader to want to continue to the next. Cut out any waffle or anything not important.
"Your headline has only one job – to stop your prospect and compel him to read the second sentence of your ad."
Every day journalists receive hundreds of press releases so it’s really important that you spend time perfecting yours to stand out from the crowd.
Top tips to impress journalists:
"We are swamped with emails so will usually just read your headline and top line to decide if the story looks exciting. Make sure you spend time on your press release - don’t make it a hurried afterthought and do your research with regards to the relevant publications, supplements and journalists for your story. Look up journalists who have written articles with similar themes and contact them directly, tweaking your release and cover email for different publications and journalists."
Sean O’Hare, Assistant Editor, DailyMail.com
Use this template which is populated with an example press release as a base for writing your own professional looking press release.
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