Using Press Releases to Promote Your Business
What can a local business write a press release about? How about a newsworthy event related to an event, a product, or even a big promotion in your company.
- Did you learn a new technique?
- Purchase new equipment?
- Receive recognition or an award?
- Forge a new partnership?
- Launch a new website, or maybe a new product?
You can write a newsworthy release on a trend, or a holiday or season that is coming up, however industry events are the most effective to write about. When writing your press release, share information that inspires or helps the readers of these publications, and focus less on your business agenda.
8 Tips for Writing an Effective Press Release
- Make your headline stand out
Media journalists get hundreds of emails daily. Be sure your press release stands out from the crowd by writing a pithy but informative headline. Keep your headline succinct and less than six words (remember, you can always add a subhead with the most important information). When styling, don’t forget to center and bold the headline. Make it about 18-20 points. If adding a subhead, put it in italics (and not bold) and make it about 14 or 16 points.
- Be sure to include your locale
Begin the press release with the city and state (traditionally a 4-letter abbreviation is used for the state e.g. MASS) where your organization is located. Start off with that information and then add a dash—from there you can go right into the release.
- Don’t bury the lead
The lead is the main point of the story. Make sure the lead and all key information is included in the first paragraph. You can’t guarantee that that reader will continue any further than that, so get that need-to-know information out there fast. The second and third paragraphs will contain secondary and supporting information.
- Remember the Five Ws
Any effective press release needs to answer the what, when, who, where and most importantly the why. What is happening? Where and when? Why is it happening? Who’s involved? A good press release must include this information. Without it, the reader moves on. Also, if it works, include the “H”—how is something happening? These are all essential good writing tips.
- Use the right style
Always be sure to write the press release as a news story. After all, it is news! Keep sentences short and simple. Don’t use industry jargon or terms that the average person won't understand. Typically a good practice is to write it so that a 5th grader can understand and follow. Focus on facts and information. Double check spelling and grammar and re-read it thoroughly before sending. Put a second set of eyes on it as well.
- Include a quote
Reporters love a good quote, so make their job easier and consider including one in your press release. This also allows you to control the narrative and keep 'misquotes' to a minimum. Whether it’s from the company president or a fundraising chair (if the release is about an upcoming event), make sure the quote sounds real and not canned. Read it aloud and make sure it sounds like it’s something a real person would actually say. Another tip: Keep it short and pithy. Remember, it needs to sound like someone actually said it.
- Include contact information
You need to make it easy for the reporter to contact you for more information or if he or she has additional questions. Be sure to include your contact name, email, and phone number, or include that information for a key person involved with the company’s news. It’s also good to include website addresses embedded right in the press release so reporters can check that out for more information. Don’t forget to include the company’s Twitter handle or Facebook page address, too. This is a boiler plate that should be consistent with every press release.
- End on the right note
Press releases traditionally end with three ###s. It signifies to the reporter that the release has come to an end. By including that, you’re demonstrating to the reporter that you understand how news releases work and he or she is bound to take you more seriously.
Additional Ways To Promote Your Press Release
- Include the published press release on your website's news section.
- Write an introductory paragraph and a link to the release on your blog.
- Share your press release on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and especially LinkedIn.
- Send an email out to your list.
A well-planned press release on a newsworthy topic is the best way to get a story written on your business (and possibly even get a news camera out to your practice!). Online releases, done right, can do wonders for your SEO campaign.