Press releases are a standard, yet under-utilized method to promote newsworthy content about your business. They can be distributed through your email marketing platform to your existing email subscribers. You also should build a list of journalists and other media contacts for all industries to receive your press releases. Newspapers, television and radio stations, relevant bloggers and podcasters, and potentially local community officials and business support organizations will want to be on your list.
In addition to distributing your press release via email blasts, you want to post your press release on a news or media page on your website. Write it using the keywords you want search enginThe Press Release: An Important Part of Your Marketing Strategyes to pick up on when indexing your website. Once posted on your website, it is important to push it from there to your social media channels as this will drive traffic back to your website.
You can also opt to use services like Cision or Ereleases to distribute your message. However, these are cost effective resources primarily for larger businesses.
One of the nice things about writing press releases is you control the message. Essentially, by writing a press release you have done the work for a member of the media who would otherwise need to interview you to gather that same information. They love to have someone else do their work for them! In the end you have controlled the message and saved your media rep some work and, perhaps, made it into the news cycle a little bit faster.
Structure of a Press Release
A press release typically consists of four parts: a headline, a lead paragraph, second and third paragraphs and a final paragraph containing background information, otherwise known as a boilerplate. A boilerplate is an old newspaper term and it generally contains information about your company.
Here is a classic example of a boilerplate:
Emerald Ballet Theatre was founded in 2007 by Artistic Director Viktoria Titova, former ballerina with the Bolshoi Theatre Grigorovich Company. EBT is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that is committed to advancing the arts through education, performance, community outreach, and collaboration with other arts organizations. Our Annual Fund Campaign raises money for EBT’s performance season. For more information, visit emeraldballet.org, Facebook and Instagram.
Back to the Beginning
Begin your press releases with the wording “For Immediate Release” – embargoed press releases is a difficult subject for another time. Also include the date and contact information for your media point person.
You need a headline and it should be clear and simple information, the essence of everything you want to say within the press release. Your first paragraph that follows will begin with the city and state the press release originates, followed by a hyphen and the core content of your press release. This content is the definitive message you want your target audience to receive in case they stop reading after the first paragraph, which they often do.
Paragraphs 2 and 3 can provide more detail about your story. This is also where you place quotes that media can use in their reporting. Make sure you’re happy with the structure of the quotes because there are no takebacks. Also be sure to properly identify the people being quoted so that there is no question who the quote should be attributed to.
Your Press Release if Finished
When you approach the process of writing a press release, remember that this is not a book. If there a large body of information you believe is important to share, use links to blog posts or other types of articles to deliver that extra detail. You rarely want your press release length to go much beyond one page, though I recommend keeping it to just one page in length. Your readers simply don’t have time to read beyond a single page.
Be sure to use spell check to look for typos and have another set of eyes look at it for the misused words that never get found by spell check—they are often there!
Once complete, post online and distribute to your email lists and push to social media. The point is to be in control of your message, in both speed and content. If you let your press release sit around for very long and do nothing with it, it loses its newsworthy value and will not matter to those you hope will promote your story.
About Sarah Flashing
- Sarah Flashing is a business leadership coach and creative whose passion is to see businesses & organizations thrive in the new normal. As a successful business owner with experience in both the boardroom and classroom, Sarah helps leaders identify gaps in their business and marketing plans and implement innovative solutions. She holds an M.A. in Ethics from Trinity International University. Contact Sarah about coaching or invite her to speak at your next event.