Your business has some great stories to tell and it’s down to you to get the news out there. Here are some tips on how to create a press release that could secure you exposure in local press, radio, online and perhaps even on television.
1. Have a genuine story to tell
The media wants to hear real stories, not manufactured tales with no genuine substance. A real story could be a start-up, an anniversary, winning a substantial contract with a national organisation, winning an award or making an attempt on a world record.
If your story makes a connection with wider current affairs issues, it’ll get more attention.
2. Talk to journalists before issuing a press release
The media are bombarded with stories, as PR agencies and marketing departments compete for attention. If you think you’ve got a story, talk to a local journalist to find out whether it could be of interest, and to increase the chance of standing out from all the background noise.
3. Write a short, clear press release
The most effective press release is short and to the point and avoids lots of marketing talk. Stick to the facts and if the journalist is interested, they’ll get in touch.
Don’t bury your news in three paragraphs of background material. Make sure the opening line spells out the essence of your story. If your opening is weak or woolly, there’s a good chance the journalist won’t read to the end.
4. Proofread your press release
If the story is good enough, the journalist will overlook spelling or typing mistakes, or poor grammar. But the quality of your presentation could be enough to determine whether your press release goes into the reject pile or on the shortlist for possible publication.
5. Include a photo
Pictures help tell a story, and if the journalist isn’t able to get a photographer to you, your photo could be all they have. The best pictures include people because that adds human interest.
Ensure you include details of exactly who is in the picture, and any relevant background information, in case it’s unclear. Also, get permission to use the photo from anyone who’s in the picture.
6. Don’t forget your contact details
If a journalist does want to get in touch with you, make it really easy for them to do so by including appropriate phone numbers, email addresses and your website address.
7. Follow up
Once you’ve sent a press release, follow up with a phone call to the journalist. Make sure they’ve seen your press release. This way you reduce the risk of it being overlooked. If the story isn’t quite right for them, find out why so you’re better prepared for next time.
8. Don’t miss wider opportunities
There’s a variety of media outlets who could take your story. These include local newspapers, radio, television, blogs and magazines. Don’t forget the trade press and bloggers for your industry.
If you’re a member of the Chamber of Commerce, get your press release on our website. Put it on your own website and talk about it through your social media channels.
These tips on creating a press release to promote your business were compiled by Andrew Knowles of Writecombination.