What’s a PR or Press Release & how does it benefit your business ?
A press release is the quickest and easiest way to get free publicity. If well written, a press release can result in multiple published articles about your firm and its products. And that can mean new prospects contacting you asking you to sell to them. Talk about low-hanging fruit!
What’s more, press releases are cost effective. If the release results in an article that (for instance) appears to recommend your firm or your product, that article is more likely to drive prospects to contact you than a comparable paid advertisement.
However, most press releases never accomplish that. Most press releases are just spray and pray. Nobody reads them, least of all the reporters and editors for whom they’re intended. Worst case, a badly-written press release simply makes your firm look clueless and stupid.
What should go into a press release?
Answer the following questions about your news:
- Who? Who are the key players — your company, anyone else involved with the product? Who does your news affect/who does it benefit?
- What? What is new?
- Why? Why is this important news — what does it provide that is different?
- Where? Where is this happening/is there a geographical angle/is the location of business relevant?
- When? What is the timing of this? Does this add significance?
- How? How did this come about?
Other important inclusions can be:-
- Experience: Talk about your scars, pain points, the way you handled them and overcame.
- Funding: Any funding you raised or about to raise in near future.
As a reporter, my immediate response to that press release was that it’s not important because it expended an entire sentence saying absolutely nothing. And I assumed (probably rightly) that the company’s marketing team was a bunch of idiots.
With that in mind, here are five rules to make sure that your press release actually drives prospects to contact you:
- RULE #1: Use the press release as a sales tool. The idea is to communicate a message to customers and prospects, through the vehicle of a print or online article, hopefully adding the authority and credibility of the publication, website and/or reporter to the message. You must not include sales links such as “click here to order”, “buy now”, “book now”, etc.
- RULE #2: Have a newsworthy story. To get your message communicated through the publication, you need to convince the reporter/editor that your message (or the story surrounding it) is newsworthy. So it’s got to have appeal to the entire readership of the publication. Keep the news short and crispy. You too don’t like to read a lengthy write-up. Isn’t that true ?
- RULE #3: Write it like a reporter would write it. If your press release looks and feels like a real article, reporters will often just file it as a story with minimal editing. Therefore, it’s up to you to make sure that your press release looks and feels like a real article. No biz blab!
- RULE #4: Provide some good quotes. Even if your CEO is a complete idiot, don’t make him sound like one by providing a quote that’s a series of business cliches. Have him say something memorable and personal, if possible.
- RULE #5: Contact Red Newswire team personally. In addition to sending a press release, personally contact the reporters that you really want to cover the story. Send them something personal. You might even want to rewrite the press release to fit their beat.
If all that sounds too difficult, you may want to spend the extra money to get a reporter from Red Newswire write the press release for you. Any good reporter will make the release look like a story, which means it’s more likely to be picked up and republished. Luckily there are plenty out-of-work reporters out there right now working as freelancers or so.