Writing Effective Press Releases

Lately, I’ve been writing press releases, some for clients, others for our agency. Why? Because the press release is one of the best marketing tools available.  It’s free publicity for your company. There’s only one problem: everyone loves the press release. And, since publications only have so much space, you’re forced to compete with a ton of other people to get your press release picked up. However, there are a few things you can do to make your press release more attractive to the media.

A Dog with a Newspaper In Its Mouth

Un perro con Noticias, by ajagendorf25.

Rule 1: Tell a good story.
Reporters get tons of press releases every day. That means you can’t just slap some words about your company on a piece of paper and call it done. You have to create a story that others will find interesting. The trick is to find a creative angle. For example, a story outlining your company’s new hiring policy is just boring. But, a story about your company hiring 500 people in the community, based on a new hiring policy, now that’s worth a second look. Same story, different angle.

Rule 2: Avoid Fluff.
The goal of your press release should be to deliver relevant information about a topic. That means get to the point. Ideally, your press release shouldn’t be more than a page. So, don’t add flowery language or include details that detract from the overall story. Just put in the details, research and quotes that support your story. And, by all means, pick a newsworthy topic. If nothing comes to mind, check out this list to see if any of the topics will work for your company.

Rule 3: Connect with Local Reporters.
Distributing your press release on the wire gets it out to publications all over the country without having to send one email or make a single phone call. But, for local papers, it helps to reach out to the reporters. Send them an email that pitches your story. The introduction should be no longer than four to five sentences telling the reporter why he/she should care about your press release. Make sure to tailor your message to the publication. For instance, if you’re sending a press release to your city paper, try to include a reason why what your company is doing is good for the city, business community, etc. And, look for reporters with interests in your topic. Have a story about your company’s newly patented technology? Send it to the technology reporter, not the one who covers entertainment. You’re much more likely to get a positive response that way.

If writing press releases seems like a lot of work, it is. If you don’t think you have time for it, you probably don’t. However, press releases are an important part of PR strategy so you can’t just forget about them. What to do, what to do…Hire someone, you say? Why yes, that sounds like a brilliant idea. Hire Echo-Factory? Even better.