It’s a fact that people are more interested in reading news than adverts. That is why press releases are often a more effective medium for communicating your brand message. Press releases are technically news items, but they are written by businesses for promotional purposes. In a way they’re disguised adverts and can be used to sell the benefits of your products or services without readers realising that they’re being sold to.
Better still, press releases are free. Okay, so journalists don’t have to publish them, but they’re free to submit and if selected for publication, you still don’t pay a penny. It’s free advertising as well as being more effective advertising.
Still, lots of companies get press releases wrong. Here are some pointers to help you write better press releases, and increase your chances of having them published.
- Make sure your press release is newsworthy. Remember, it’s not officially an advert. You need to have a genuine piece of news to share. Have you opened a new office? Are you under new management? Have you introduced a new line of products or begun offering a new service? Is there an upcoming event that your company’s involved in?
- Don’t use flowery language. Again, this is a news item. It shouldn’t contain ‘spin’. It should be interesting, factual and address five key points – who, what, where, when and why.
- Make your headline clear. Don’t try to be too clever with your headline, because a journalist needs to know pretty quickly what the press release is about, otherwise it’ll be on a one-way trip to the bin.
- Don’t make your press release too long. It’s not an editorial. New products rarely get much more than 200 words. Generally I keep all of my press releases between 200 and 300 words. No journalist likes a rambler. If the newspaper or magazine wants a longer piece, they will contact you for more information, and will usually rewrite and flesh it out themselves.
- ALWAYS include a quote. I stressed this in more detail in a previous blog, but in brief, press releases without a quote are like bread without butter or jam. Dry. Boring. Quotes provide a human touch to your story and let you make a claim that doesn’t need substantiating.
- Make sure you include a “Notes for Editors” section. This should contain information about your company, the press release writer and how the journalist can get in contact if they need more information.
- ALWAYS include a photo. Journalists like opening press releases and finding literally everything they need to send the story for publication, and most stories need accompanying images. Sending a good-quality image means the journalist doesn’t need to contact you to get one.
- Send out a press release at least once a month. This keeps you in touch with your customers and lets them know that there are always exciting things going on with your business. It will also help to nurture your media links if you send out regular stories. If your press releases are published on news or business websites, along with links to your site, then this is also good for your Google rankings.
Do you need help writing press releases? As a freelance copywriter, I’ve written press releases for a range of different businesses and seen a number of them published in newspapers and on news and business sites. I’m confident I can write a strong and interesting press release for you to submit to your media list – at very competitive rates.
Get in touch with me on 07411 331721 or at email@example.com and let’s get the media talking about your business!
And if you’re still a bit stuck on the differences between press releases, editorials and other types of articles, you might find my previous blog “Articles vs advertorials vs press releases – what’s the difference?” useful.