September 21, 2012
/ by Cision Contributor
We often share advanced tips and best practices on crafting a winning press release, but what about those who are about to put ‘pen to paper’ for their first release? As more businesses turn to press releases as a way to increase their brand visibility and share news with their audience, it’s important to revisit the basics to help our new press release compatriots get up and running. So with those newcomers in mind, we are sharing six tips for getting an A+ on your first press release.
If the proposition of writing your first press release is causing flashbacks about writing essays back in high school, take a deep breath. Unlike high school essays, your work isn’t going to be graded in the traditional sense. With a press release, success is measured by the returns that your efforts produce. There’s no risk of a bright red D or F being slapped on your press release, but the audience that reads it will certainly be evaluating your work.
There are things you can do to make your first press release a success. Check out this cheat-sheet with tips for writing your first press release:
Study Other Press Releases A well-written press release is a lot more likely to be picked up and passed around, so look to press releases from major companies for inspiration before putting pencil to paper – or fingers to keyboard. Read a variety of press releases from major brands and corporations to get a feel for how they typically flow and the type of language that is generally used. The more professional press releases you read, the easier it will be to write a winner the first time around.
Start with a Newsworthy Topic Effective press releases revolve around newsworthy topics. Every company has newsworthy information to share. From new product roll-outs & service updates, to organization changes & upcoming events, there is a litany of stories to share if you look for them. And there is the opportunity to tie onto breaking news or emerging trends. For example, if a news story comes out indicating that interest rates for mortgages are at record lows, a real estate agent might submit a press release announcing that now could be a great time to buy a home.
Stick to Facts
Press releases should be informative and interesting. They are integral parts of any small business marketing strategy, but they shouldn’t be overtly promotional. To get the most out of your press release, you should write it in a way that encourages others to pass it around. If it comes across as a long advertisement for your business, that’s a lot less likely to happen. Think of a press release as a variation of a news article. While writing it, stick to the facts. Express those facts concisely and clearly.
Include a Quote
What differentiates a press release from a run-of-the-mill news article? Several things do, but the most important one is the fact that it’s information that is being released by your company to raise awareness about a newsworthy topic. Like any well-written news article, your press release should be sprinkled with quotes. Unlike news articles though, the quotes in your press release can be from people of your choosing. From the president of your company to satisfied customers, these quotes can be used to promote your business in a low-key and believable way. Include at least two to three quotes in your first press release for best results.
Edit Your Press Release Carefully Your press release is going to introduce your company to media outlets around the world. With that in mind, it should be as polished and well-written as possible. If grammatical and spelling errors slip through, it may reflect poorly on your brand. Read your press release carefully before submitting it. Then once you’ve finished, step away, do something else for an hour or so and then read it again. Have a friend or colleague read it too. In addition to looking for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, read it out loud to see how well it flows. When these steps are taken, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of publishing an error or typo.
Submit It When you’re satisfied that you’ve done the best work possible, go ahead and submit your press release. Remember that each press release is unique, and that there are no hard and fast rules. Depending on the press release distribution service that you use, certain formatting restrictions may apply. When your press release gets the green light, it will go live. With any luck, it will generate a lot of buzz for your company.
Readers, what are your best tips for producing press releases that make the grade?
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