December 5, 2013
One of the best ways to get free publicity is by writing a press release and sending it to your local media. The problem is that your local media gets bombarded with press releases day after day and the majority of them end up in the waste basket. So how can you increase the chances of your press release actually making it to print? Follow these guidelines and more often than not, your press release will turn into a news story that gets you the free publicity you seek.
Write The Perfect Press Release & Get The Publicity You Seek
The Perfect Press Release Example
Over the years, we’ve identified 22 traits that will help your press release stand above the crowd. Feel free to download the “Perfect Press Release” example at left to follow along as we go over each trait.
Trait #1 – Make sure the organization you belong to is very clear. Placing this information at the top is a good start.
Trait #2 – If your press release doesn’t contain news, you may as well not even send it. Promise news at the top with “NEWS RELEASE” in a larger font than the rest of the press release.
Trait #3 – One of the main traits of news is that it is current. Since you are offering news, make sure it is as current as possible.
Trait #4 – Get the name of the person you are sending your press release to and place it in a prominent position. Be sure to double check the spelling.
Trait #5 – Provide a specific contact person with a phone number where they can be reached. Don’t make contacting you a challenge.
Trait #6 – It’s important to inform your contact when specifically you’d like your press release to be run. If you don’t have a specific date, be sure to allow for immediate release.
Trait #7 – Just like your other marketing materials, headlines are a must. Include a newsworthy angle in your headline for best results.
Trait #8 – Where is your news release being released from? It’s always best to use a local angle, so try to place the story from a local perspective.
Trait #9 – Try to tell your entire story in the first paragraph. If everything else is cut, at least you got your main points in.
Trait #10 – Turn the story in a personal angle as soon as possible. Use quotes from known individuals if possible.
Trait #11 – Use subheads to highlight important parts of your story. People are busy and only read the parts that interest them, so include subheads for each of your target markets.
Trait #12 – Beware of sexism and humor. What is funny to some groups may be offensive to others.
Trait #13 – Use quotes from each of your target markets. Be sure to include quotes from groups that read the publications you have targeted with your press release.
Trait #14 – Use later paragraphs for dispelling or confirming rumors. It’s always best to cover your bases with a little objectivity.
Trait #15 – Include quotes from senior executives to build credibility. News releases are taken a little more serious when the boss’s name is on the line.
Trait #16 – Could the local community perceive your news in a negative manner? If so, highlight the potential positives.
Trait #17 – If promising a specific future result, be flexible. Not reaching your specific results on time will always bring bad publicity.
Trait #18 – If space permits, allow your executive to inject some human interest to the story. Use these quotes as a transition back to a more positive tone.
Trait #19 – Is there an executive that matches the demographics of your target audience? If so, place them in your target audiences shoes to close the story with added trust.
Trait #20 – The notation “-30″- is the standard way of concluding a press release. Keep your press release to one page!
Trait #21 – Including photographs is a great way to gain more attention for your story. Make sure the photos you submit are easily reproducible and will hold their quality in both color and black and white.
Trait #22 – If you have other media you’d like to include or have available, be sure to provide the information here. The more peripheral media you have available, the easier it is to use your press release in a story.
The most important thing to remember is to include a newsworthy angle that is of interest to the local community or specific readers of the publications you send your release to. Public relations is ultimately about solving an editor’s need for relevant content that satisfied readers. By including as many of these traits in your next press release, you will drastically increase the likelihood of gaining some free publicity for your small business.