You should be issuing press releases regularly for two reasons.
- To get increased media visibility and coverage, giving you better brand recognition, trust and authority.
- For increased traffic and links for your website, giving you more sign-ups and revenue.
Now, media visibility is a very different ballgame from 15 years ago. Back then, press releases were just for the press. Hardly anyone outside the media and PR firms ever read them. Now that everything is online, press releases show up in people’s search results, in Google News and Yahoo News, and on industry websites.
So, I say it’s okay to depart from the traditional style of release. I’m in favor of adding more background info and color to releases. Now, that doesn’t mean you should think of it as sales copy. Oh no. Keep it objective, but interesting.
If your release can stand on its own as a well written article then it’s more likely to make a splash. An editor may decide to run it with only minor edits to fill some space. Consumers who find your release online will be more likely to read through, and then click through to your website. News websites and blogs may syndicate your release.
I’m not going to teach you the format for releases, but when you’re ready just google [how to write a press release] and you’ll find plenty of sites to tell you the proper formatting rules. Stick to the standard format.
Spend plenty of time on your headline. That’s what will make or break your release. Remember that reporters and editors will respond to headlines differently than general readers. You can tailor your headline for pick-up by established media, or for general readership. Ideally you’ll write a headline that appeals to all of your audiences.
Write it about anything new: new products, new services, new facilities, new charitable efforts, new management… you get the picture. Your release needs to be newsworthy. It does not have to be ground breaking or amazing, just fresh.
Once you have your release, and compelling headline, it’s time to actually distribute it. If possible, post it on your website first. That way search engines know you had the content first.
Then you can e-mail it to all relevant media outlets. (Visit their websites and look for the “Newsroom” link.) You can send your release in email format – no attachments! – to the main Editors’ address, but it’s even better to hit the specific departments and reporters that cover the subject of your release.
Finally, you’ll want some form of online distribution. This is what will get you into Google News and relevant websites. Reporters and editors also comb the feeds from online distribution, so it’s a double whammy combined with your e-mail to them.
There’s a great and free press release distribution website, PRLog. I suggest you start there, as the paid distribution options can get expensive quickly. PRLog will let you set up a company profile with full contact info and logo. Your release can include a photo and up to three links, depending on its length. One of my favorite features is you can schedule your release. So, set up your online release ahead of time.
You should try to send your release out on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Mondays are too busy. People are just trying to finish the week on Fridays. Releases are often released first thing in the morning, but you might have fewer competitors during lunch time.
You might get a call from the media for more details and such, so be prepared. Have some good pictures at high resolution on hand to send upon request.
Now the fun part: you can sit back and watch. Search Google for your headline or random sentences from your release to see where it shows up! Your distribution service should also provide some data on how many viewers you had there.
Hopefully someone will come in holding a newspaper with your picture and story in it. That’s what happened to J & J’s Deli after the release I wrote went out. Here’s the article.
Get those releases out. Do it every few months. Don’t have time? Hire me. Call 919-636-0953 or e-mail me.