Press releases are one of your business’s first opportunities to make a public impression—but a good impression is far from guaranteed. If you’re a new business owner and have never had to write a press release before, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the essentials. Let us break it down for you:
1. Create Truly Catchy Headlines.
In a culture of instant gratification, catchy headlines are the first requirement to get your article noticed. Headlines like, “XYZ Company announces ______” aren’t catchy enough to pique a reader’s interest because it doesn’t answer the “what’s-in-it-for-me” question. Keep your headlines short and to the point, like “XYZ solves the _________ problem.”
2. Don’t Lie.
Everyone knows that 80% of all statistics are made up on the spot, but don’t be caught with bogus numbers. If you’re going to use a number, be prepared to back it up when you are called on it. Use sources like trade journals, published research reports, or reputable websites. Provide links for all sources used.
3. Get to the Point.
Keep the warm fuzzies and heavy selling to a minimum. Avoiding industry jargon is a must, so get out your thesaurus and use words the layperson will understand. Assume people won’t read the whole thing—tell them what they need to know right away, and save the less critical information for the end. (And if it’s really not important, leave it out.)
4. Focus on the Reader.
Too many press releases are about the company and how wonderful they are. Customers don’t care about you—they want to know what you can do for them. Benefits sell, not features. Pointing out how you can save time and money is a winner every time.
5. Contact Information is Crucial.
Don’t let all of your creative writing go to waste by neglecting to include your contact information. The best press release in the world is useless if someone can’t get in touch with you. At a minimum, put a web address at the bottom so people can find you.
Proofread, proofread again, and then get a second (or third) pair of eyes on it. Due to short staffs in newsrooms, there is a high probability your press release will get published “as is.” Nothing says more about your company than a press release filled with typos and grammatical errors—even if it’s otherwise awesome.
Double Bonus Tip:
Be creative—not cute. Being a creative wordsmith is an art that shouldn’t be cheapened with cute “spellingz.” That sort of cuteness doesn’t belong in the professional world and is sure to get your information tossed.
Even though they’re free, a press release should be given the same attention as anything else you would send out into the world related to your business (or yourself). Don’t let the opportunity for a great first impression go to waste.
The next question you may have is how to determine your ROI. Luckily, there’s an ebook for that. Click below to learn about the “6 Marketing Metrics that REALLY Matter.”