Do Press Releases Still Work for Business?
In addition to building a brand on social media, press releases are still one of the most powerful promotional tools when it comes to building a buzz for your business.
A press release is simply a newsworthy story about you or your business. Reporters might want to print your press release or they may be interested in interviewing you to assist in a story they are working on.
“A press release is great for sharing timely, relevant news such as an event, a product release or a website launch,” writes Maggie Aland on Bulldog Reporter. Aland adds that your business can also build more brand awareness as press releases remain a “viable and important marketing communications tool for companies big and small.”
Newspaper print readership has been on a steady decline over the last decade, while digital news consumption has been on the rise. As a result the increased speed at which information travels online has made press releases more useful than ever.
Those who edit online publications also have tight schedules. If they receive a good press release via email, they can simply cut and paste for an instant story. Even if they decide to add to it, most of the work is already done for them.
Mainstream bloggers use press releases in the same way as media professionals. Personal and part-time bloggers often use them when they’re short on time but still want to give their readers content on a regular basis.
Crafting Your Press Release
Anyone can write a press release, but it’s important to use the proper format. A press release should include the following:
What is it about?
Decide what your press release will be about – such as
- A new product or book
- A news announcement
- A contest
- A new video that has been posted to your media channels.
Your article will need to inform the audience in an interesting and compelling way.
Your business name and contact information should appear at the top of the release if it is sent via mail or fax. Press releases distributed online should include this information at the bottom of the page:
In most cases, you’ll want to let the reader know that the release is ready to go live immediately. If so, use “For Immediate Release”. If your release is time-sensitive, you can use “For Release Before (date)” or “For Release After (date)”.
Many press release services will include just the date and location, like this example on PR Newswire:
Like any news story, a press release needs an attention-grabbing headline. To be effectively indexed on Google, your headline should range between 65 and 80 characters (including spaces). Some writers also include a subhead under the headline. This is optional, but it provides an additional opportunity to draw the reader in. It should be short and to the point, but can be slightly longer than the headline.
Before you write your press release, write down several different ideas for your headline and choose the one which grabs the reader’s attention the most. Consider who your target audience is and check your headline against other press releases in order to craft it in a unique fashion.
(The above is proof that just about all rules are there to be broken!)
The introductory paragraph is the most important part of the body of the press release. As with any well-written news story, it should include the “Five Ws” of journalism: who, what, where, when and why. This paragraph should provide all of the key points of the release.
Readers will glance at this piece of information next and will quickly move onto something else if your first paragraph is not properly formatted. You will want to keep this short and focused. Avoid rambling on or going into other topics outside of what you are writing about.
The remainder of the body should include details supporting the main idea. Use statistics and quotations where appropriate. You can quote customers, business partners, industry experts or even yourself.
This is the meat and potatoes of your article. If you have successfully grabbed your reader’s attention, they will continue on to this next section. Stay objective and don’t offer any opinions or too many links. The body of your article should include between three and five paragraphs, which will offer any facts, descriptions, dates, quotes, etc.
The ideal length of a press release is 500 to 800 words. For best results, try to keep the entire release no more than one page long. Always write press releases in the third person, and take care to use proper grammar and correct spelling.
Like social media you do not want to create a sales pitch, but rather craft an enticing and attention grabbing piece of information.
After you have written your press release be sure to perform a thorough edit, checking the spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This is especially important to do in checking the spelling of any names or titles. Also, perform a final fact check of your information and any links included. Remember, your press release is a representation of your company or brand and should be considered a valuable calling card.
Over To You
Do you have any experience with Press Releases? Would you like to share any tips? We’re all ears!
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