So you want free publicity? Thinking about writing a press release?
Great idea! Even in the age of the Internet, many major news outlets and publications get a high percentage of news from press releases.
Your goal is to get your release noticed rather than ignored or trashed. But keep in mind that a new website, new product, new service … those things just aren't news anymore.
Thousands of new products and services are launched every day, and many of the launchers send press releases. Editors report that they're inundated with press releases, and that the quality of most is poor.
Here are five tips that will give your release an edge over all the other releases in an editor's inbox.
First, if possible, tie your release to something else that editors and writers consider “news.” Are you launching a new site that sells services to moms-to-be? That alone isn't news to anyone else but you--and maybe your mom. But what about tying the news of your launch to the latest government report that says single moms are slowly becoming the largest percentage of households in the US? Write a release that taps such news, and shows how your site offers resources to those moms-to-be.
If you can't find a newsworthy angle right away, write an informational, or “evergreen,” press release. Evergreen simply means that the topic of your release will appeal to editors, writers, and their readers all year long.
Suppose, for example, you're opening a business that sells pools. In-ground pools. Why not write a press release headlined: "10 tips for getting the perfect pool in time for summer." Fill the release with information the editor's readers will want to know. Make the release more like a story. Quote yourself in the release to represent yourself as an expert on pools.
Home, Garden, and Lifestyle editors are more likely to use a piece like that "as is," or to use your release as a springboard for a fuller, separate article because they know their readers will appreciate the information you share in your release. And they'll likely quote you or call you, establishing you as an expert. Would-be pool buyers read the article, see your name, and then, hopefully, give you a call. Easy, huh? You can write evergreen releases around almost any product or service.
To show editors that you've considered their requirements, and that you know what they want, follow standard press release conventions.
Another important tip is to keep your use of adjectives to a bare minimum. A press release headlined like this sounds way too much like an ad:
Expert wordsmith dazzles business owners with exceptional copywriting prowess
“Expert? By whose standards?” an editor would ask.
“Exceptional prowess”? Okay, I overdid it a bit, but I think you get the idea.
If you pepper your release with words like “wonderful, impactful, high caliber, high quality,” it’s going to sound just like an ad.
And editors do not print ads.
Scan your release for adjectives. And then cut those beasts without mercy.
Just because adjectives are all but verboten doesn't mean you can't play up how wonderful your product or service is. But do so only in quotations. For example:
“I've spoken with lots of local business owners who tell me that it's good to have a reliable writer on standby, someone who knows how to create professionally persuasive copy for their print and online marketing pieces," said Renae Gregoire, owner of The Write Idea. “In fact, business owners tell me that they really enjoy getting the same creative marketing and copywriting services that ad agencies and larger marketing and PR firms provide, but at a much lower cost and without all the other bells and whistles,” she said.
See how that works? Sprinkle pertinent quotations throughout your release to get in the “ad-type” copy you want.
Follow the tips provided, and you'll be well on your way to sparing your press release a quick trip to the trash can, and to garnering priceless, free media attention.
Website popups gone wrong: A mistake to avoid
Get on the proof train and rock your biz — fo’ shizzle!