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What makes a good press release?

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.

What is a press release and how could it benefit my business?

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: 

  • Generating free publicity and getting you new customers 
    Your press release could be read by hundreds or thousands of people and it won’t have cost you a penny. You could gain new fans, followers and customers from the exposure. Sometimes links back to your website will be included in online articles, which can prove valuable for SEO as well as driving traffic.
  • Gaining you credibility 
    News articles are seen as more trustworthy sources of information than other marketing channels like email newsletters that you have written yourself or an advert that you have paid for. 
  • Positioning you as the expert or a leader in the industry
    Being featured in the news is impressive. You could also pitch an idea to a news outlet to offer expert advice or behind the scenes information about your industry. 
  • Making your team proud
    It can be great for staff morale to see themselves or their achievements in the news. You’ll be able to use any coverage across your other marketing channels too. 

10 ideas for your next press release

  1. An event that is happening 
  2. The launch of your business or a product 
  3. Receiving funding 
  4. The start of a crowdfunding campaign
  5. Major milestones or achievements 
  6. Some interesting market research or a study 
  7. Hiring someone significant 
  8. A new office opening or relocation 
  9. Involvement in charity work or community projects like voluntary work or sports team sponsorship 
  10. An inspirational story about a team member 

How to write a press release

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.”

 

Eugene Schwartz

How to get my press release noticed by journalists

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: 

  • Include as many of the “five Ws” (who, what, where, why and when) in the opening few lines of your story. Read the papers for examples of how to do this.
  • Try to keep your release to one side of A4 or 300-400 words. 
  • Email your press release individually and personally to each journalist. 
  • Be friendly and build relationships. 
  • Cut and copy the text from your press release into the email body (under your message) as well as including it as an attachment – this makes it easier for them to open and read on the go. 
  • Include a good quality image or two but make sure the email size isn’t too big to clog up their inboxes. They can always request more images from you if they want to use your story. 

 

“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 

Checklist: What to include in your press release

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Download: Free press release template

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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What should I do after I’ve sent a press release?

  • Check for coverage

    Set up Google Alerts for your business name and other keywords so you can automatically monitor the web for any stories about your business. Newspapers often get news from each other so you may have been featured in more than one. 

  • Keep your press clippings

    Keep your clippings for your records, to use in your marketing and even to inspire journalists to write about you again.

  • Publicise any media coverage across your other marketing channels

    Include it on your website, on social media, as a link in your email signature, in sales letters and presentations, email newsletters, and to hand out at events and put in with orders. 

  • Review what went well and what you could have done better

    If you got some coverage then make some notes of what you did and who you contacted and try and maintain a good relationship. If you didn’t, review what you could change next time. 

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