What is a press release and how can it build your business?
The answer to "What is a press release?" is: One of the best marketing tools you can have.
First, because it's relatively free; and secondly, it's a credible way to reach your target audience. In fact, a well-written press release can dramatically increase your business and enhance the image of your business if you use it properly and as part of an on-going program.
What is a press release?
A press release is a news story that is written in third person in order to spark the interest of an editor or reporter of the newsworthiness of the subject matter.
Press release can be sent either by snail mail, email, or fax.
Press releases aren't difficult to write, and can be well worth the effort. I'm going to make it even easier by giving you tips on how to write one, as well as give you a sample press release format.
What is a press release subject?
The idea of a dedicated press release campaign is to keep your company in front of the media as much as possible. That being said, it's important to remember that the publication isn't interested in helping you increase sales or gain clients. They want the information necessary to craft a good story that will help sell their publication.
So when you are thinking about what is a press release subject, think about things that are truly newsworthy. A press release may be run in a publication as is, or it could simply be the catalyst to getting a publication to inquire about more information.
Some newsworthy/noteworthy events you might write about could include:
- Grand openings, sales, events, etc.
- Conference attendance
- New equipment
- New employees
What is a press release media contact list?
One of the first things you'll want to do is make a media contact list that included their street addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. If you don't know where to start, get out your phone book and start calling your local media outlets like newspapers, publications, magazines, radio and television stations. You'll also want to send your releases to trade publications in your industry. To find out the contact at these media outlets, simply call them up and ask who receives their press releases for whatever your topic/industry is.
Be sure to update this list regularly since contacts do change.
What is a press release good starting point?
An important part of a press release is the headline.
Think about it. Editors and reporters get tons of press releases every week. You want to be sure yours stands out. One way to do this is by crafting an attention-getting headline. The point is to write your headline with as few words as possible, in an exciting way, but not sensationalized.
Next, you want to write an interesting lead, or the opening paragraph. Like any news story, a press release should be written in what is called an inverted pyramid style. This simply means that all the important information needs to be included at the beginning, and the information gets less and less critical as you move down the story.
That's why the opening paragraph should contain all the pertinent information - the who, what, when, where, and why. The remaining body text should include any relevant information that pertains to the lead.
Think about what would be the most interesting to an editor. What would grab their attention over all the other press releases they get? Try to come up with a unique angle, if you can.
What is a press release body copy?
The rest of the press release should back up and expand on the statements you have already made in the headline and the lead. Be sure to include quotes from relevant people connected to the story where appropriate. Quotes add interest and personality to your release.
Do's and Don'ts.
Don't write over your reader's head. Use conversational language that doesn't include a lot of adjectives and five-dollar words.
Do use only the facts. Don't embellish.
Do include the city where the news is happening, and the date the release is written immediately before the lead paragraph.
Do use ### at the end of your press release to let the editor know that it is completed. If your release is more than one page, put - more - at the bottom of the first page.
Don't use hype. Phrases like "state-of-the-art," "breakthrough," and "high-quality" are just some of the phrases that are overused and smell of hype.
Do write in the third person, as if reporting.
Do keep your press release to one page, if possible - absolutely no more than two pages.
Sample Press Release Format
Ready to put it all together? Go to this section to see a sample of a real press release.
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