In this era of content, the press release is an optimal tool to promote news about your organization. Press releases keep you top of mind for members of the media, and give you a steady, current stream of new information on your own website and social media platforms.
Did you hire a new employee? Sponsor a successful community event? Make strides in business development? Move to a new location? Share it.
Start with the basics
Who. What. Where. When … you know what comes next. Most importantly – show why your accomplishment is worth mentioning.
Do I have to start from scratch?
You do not. Use language from existing projects, proposals, speeches and presentations to shape your information for the press. Package it in a way to appeal to reporters as a newsworthy story.
But what do I call it?
Draw the reader in with a catchy headline. You know the difference: it’s “Animals Vacate North Buffalo Zoological Facility” versus “Giraffes Take Over City!” Crafting a unique headline brings color to your story and encourages a reporter to continue reading.
Crossing the T’s
Your press release should be in line with your organization’s brand. Consistency in style, logos and language is a simple way to support your company’s marketing efforts. Include an “about us” section that details information about your organization to encourage readers to learn more by visiting your website.
Dotting the I’s
PrOofReaD for Gramatical & sPeLing, eRrors
Time it right
As a general rule of thumb, morning is the best time to send a press release, and it’s best to try to avoid Mondays (too many catch-up emails from the weekend) and Fridays (will get pushed off until next week and then forgotten) if you want to cut through all the clutter.
Mind the details
Make sure to BCC your entire media list; a lot of reporters won’t want their emails visible to everyone else and you don’t necessarily want to disclose everyone you’re sending it to. Use the title of the press release as your subject line. Keep the body of the email simple and to the point, but also make sure to cut and paste the text of the release below your email signature since a lot of people don’t like opening attachments on their phones. Attach the press release as a PDF (in case of formatting issues for people with different versions of different programs) and also as a Word doc (easier for cutting and pasting for websites). Last but not least, include a photo or graphic that pertains to the announcement.
Send your press release to the newsdesks of local media outlets. Send it to a reporter you know, if appropriate. Send it to your partner organization on the other side of the country, if it’s relevant. Wherever you distribute your press release, choose your recipients based on the theme of your news. And take advantage of free publishing resources or platforms, such as Scribd or local news forum pages.
Designate a member of your team to follow up with the news outlets that received your release. Continue to use your content and give the story longevity by repurposing the information as a blog post, sending the announcement to your partners or customers in an email blast, and posting on social media. And hone your pitch; don’t just babble. Be brief, be direct, be nice, say thanks, but most of all be persistent.
Now what? Use this template.