The public relations strategy for any business keeps press releases a priority but understanding and using them can be tricky. The definition of a press or media release remains a mystery for many. Let us begin with an explanation of what a press release is and how it is worth it.
What is a press release?
In simple terms, any information that helps the media members know about any recent development of an organization or a brand is called a press release. It is a compelling writing piece that stimulates journalists’ interests or publications to produce their content pieces. A press release, also known as a news release, is a brief printed piece of writing that outlines the facts that need to be covered in a news story. It reads like a news story but is written in the third person and involves quotes and information.
The entire purpose of a press release is to get adequate coverage and get noticed by people. It is all about communication. Generally, a press release prepared by the PR team is mailed or faxed to the editors or journalists of newspapers, magazines, radio, TV stations, or online portals to make a genuinely newsworthy announcement. It can be about an event, company, product launch, or any other happening.
Purpose of a press release:
Why should you even write a press release?
It is a question that bothers many. The main aim of a press release is to help promote something that is of utmost importance. It serves significant purposes like:
- They are notifying about an essential event to the media which in turn will help them publicize it.
- It helps you share information about your company which can impress the journalists to cover an entire story about the business.
- It also helps you gain a social media presence and promote your business through blogs, websites, or other social media platforms. People are more glued to the internet in the changing times, and they feel relatable seeing content on social media.
- They act as fundamental tools for any PR agency. Press releases help improve the media coverage, and you cover all the aspects while preparing a press release. You tend to research various media outlets to ensure that the information shared gets the desired coverage.
- With changing times, the internet has taken over the traditional ways of marketing. Search engine optimization is the key to get the company high up on Google ranking. Press releases are distributed through newswires that compile and distribute news to all media personnel. Reporters keep an eye on all the information posted by newswire and get their share of relevant information.
- A company’s relation with the media plays a crucial part in the growth of the business. You always wish to set a positive impression in the media to trust your piece of information. Press releases help the media know about all that is happening from time to time, and this allows the journalists to contact you when they’re looking for stories relevant to your working style.
- It helps portray your brand positively in the journalists’ eyes, who further share this as a news piece to reach out to your target audience. It helps create an initial platform for the journalist to build upon.
Why is a Press release still needed in 2021?
Sending a standard message on a messenger is relatively straightforward, but a press release has all the qualities to garner your target segment’s attention. Press Release is an effective tool even in current times, which helps gather the journalists’ attention and awareness. It helps build a relationship with people in the media. With the use of proper keywords, a press note can increase your search engine optimization manifold.
You can manage the image and perception of your brand and wipe off any opposing views. The keyword is that the news item must be newsworthy. By newsworthy, we mean that the news piece must have an immediate impact. There must be an immediate need for people to know this piece of information, and the data must be about something relatable to the audience. The timing of the release also plays a vital role in the social media field. Social media is the new face for public relations and is replacing the traditional ways to market your brand.
With social media presence, press releases have become an essential search engine optimization tool for the target segment. It is a direct way to communicate with the end-user, and the posts are downloadable for further reference. It drives the interest and has a worldwide distribution power. Press releases have become critical for building trust and authenticity, expanding public knowledge, and the convenience of reading it anywhere through smartphones. An online press release may even go viral, and your brand may be recognized worldwide within no time. Announcing an event or launch online lets thousands of journalists get to know about your company, and you get an opportunity to interact with them.
Tips for writing a press release
An effective press release always strikes a chord with the media. There are a few steps that you can follow to make your press release noteworthy and influential:
The purpose needs to be newsworthy
It is step one, where something newsworthy is what all bloggers or journalists look out for. Your press release’s purpose may be simple, like the launch of an event, product, redesigning your website, or any other information about the company, which you want the people to know. As long as the thing you are doing is worth it, you must go ahead with the press release. Let us discuss a few newsworthy topics:
- Product launch- A press release proves to be a great help to spread the word for a new product launch.
- Launch of an event- If your company plans an event like a charity or a music concert, you have the fodder for making a nice and crisp press release. It helps the people to hook onto the dates.
- Redesigning your website- Redesigning or rebranding surely calls for a press release. The redesigning needs to be exciting and must hook the audience firmly. It would help if you positioned your brand so that the traffic on the website increases manifold.
Develop a solid hook
Step two includes developing a solid hook after identifying the purpose of the press release. All you must focus on now is to find the right words to build a strong angle for the audience to care about. The terms used must be understandable and straightforward. Marketing jargon will not work well with everyone. Generally, a trending topic is an excellent hook for the audience. If related to the trend, your piece of news would add up the fuel to the fire. The selection of work that you wish to portray must be non-conventional. It must be something out of the box, which is opposite to conventional wisdom. If it is something different, then you stand a chance to get all the desired media coverage.
The headline is a must
It is very critical and of great importance. Most media people would read your headline and decide whether they want to read the content further or not, depending on if they find the headline worth their interest. It is essential to have an exciting and appealing headline that revolves around the leading hook or angle you developed. All good press releases will follow this formula of using their hook words in the headline. Press release distribution sites also allow adding subheadings to the press release. It adds value as you enter all the essential details which the journalists read, rather than reading the entire press release.
Press release lead
The first few lines of the press release are called the lead of the press release. These are the most critical lines as this portrays the first impression while the journalists and bloggers read the release. It is an important part, and these initial sentences must get their attention right. Your lead can include some statistics, figures, findings, or an event or new product announcement. It has to be the most gripping part of the press release. Later you can get into the details of these facts. You may also link your website in the first few lines.
Body of the press release
After finishing with the headline, sub-headline, and lead, it is time for a gripping body copy of the press release. The most crucial point that needs to be remembered is writing a press release in the third person. Words like I, We, or You, must not be used. Use the name of the company instead. The press release must be objective enough to allow the journalists to pick up sections from it to be used in their stories. It would help if you used short paragraphs because no one would read it word by word. You must use statistics, figures, and make the body easy to understand.
The final edit
At this point, your press release is almost ready. You may add few final touches to make the press release compelling. You may use multimedia like images, screenshots, logos, videos, or diagrams so that your press release stands out. You must add your contact information at the end. The bloggers and journalists can reach out to you quickly. You must include the contact person’s name and the email and phone number, and add a few final lines about the company and the brand.
Editing of the release
You must have the release read by a few people before publishing it. It helps you edit the press release and make it error-free. You must check for typos, grammar, and all other information written in the release.
Distribution of the press release
Now that all is done, it is time to distribute your press release. You may publish the press release on your site or seek the help of a public relations distribution agency. You must schedule the release at weird timings so that it stands out in the crowd of so many releases in the day.
Does releasing the news piece with search engine optimization help? It is a question that needs to be contemplated. Google published that the links that are present in the press releases are often ignored. Usually, all press releases use no-follow links. Though it will show the press release on the sites, they have zero SEO value. The press release will show up in Google News and can be picked up by various sites that use do-follow links. It will count and help in your SEO. Agencies like PR Newswire are the leaders when it comes to a massive network of journalists and bloggers. Though getting started with them can take time, but the results are fantastic.
Share the release
All that is needed to help the press release reach the desired target audience comes in this step. The search starts with finding the relevant journalist who would love to cover your story. Generic e-mails do not work nowadays. It would help if you looked out for journalists who cover the same areas and topics as yours or those who’ve been writing about the related topics. You can send mailers to them, stating how your company is working in the same direction, and then you can add a link to your press release at the end of the mail.
Rules to make a Press Release successful
It is a fact that we all long for keeping up with the news. People prefer to read the information online these days, so press releases online are a great branding tool that lets you reach the target audience and increases your trust and credibility. Your engaging press releases generate a drive, and the journalists get interested in your content and increase organic traffic towards your website. A press release is an ethical way to spread the word, which is newsworthy. So in simple terms, to make a press release successful, you need to follow a few rules. Let us discuss them to make a successful press release campaign:
Knowing the best practices to write a press release
As discussed earlier, writing a press release needs some talent. You may seek help from content writers to do the same. The press release is the face of your company. The press note must cover all the key points and clearly define the objectives, use of the 5 W’s, proper style of writing, and correct use of grammar, spacing, and sharing all the content details at the end is a must.
Knowing your target segment
The piece of writing should be directed to the correct audience. It is very critical that you know the right target segment while writing the media note. Knowing the right demographics helps a lot, and you will get to know about the kind of terminologies that you can use so that the audience can relate to what you have written.
The press release must be targeted appropriately so that the desired traffic is directed towards your press release. You must back your targeting with proper research regarding the industry, product, and services before setting up the distribution target.
Crafting your elevator pitch
Press release nowadays proves to be a great form of branding. Marketing in today’s online world is very crucial. Writing the elevator pitches is like a craft, and you need to back it with a proper understanding of the brand, target market, and competition. Your headlines play a vital role. If they’re boring and stereotype, you will not attract much attention. Readers will not engage with the release, even if the journalists approve of it. So you must have creative, eye-catchy titles, which carry a punch.
Editors of news journals, magazines, or online news websites follow the rules strictly. They check on the usage of language, style, and prose. You must adhere to proper tone, style, and grammar. You can take the help of various websites to correct your writing and make the desired changes. If the press release is not perfect on these parameters, it will be rejected by the editors.
Teamwork always stands out to be the key to success. You can co-write your press release and gather ideas from learned people. It will bring clarity to the thought process and improve the quality of your writing.
Resort to free advertising or cross-promotion
Cross-promotion will help you spread your press release to various platforms with controlled cost and high credibility. You can engage with your business partners in doing this promotion. They can share in the cost of the release as their brand also gets marketed simultaneously. It not only reduces the cost but also increases your reach to the target segment.
Quality of distribution channels
A good distribution channel involves cost. It will never be cheap. You need to research and find out reliable distribution channels which get decent traction and have good analytics to back them. You need to compare the charges, their reach, and the add-ons they will offer, like adding videos or hyperlinks to your free press release.
Syndicating the press release
It is a must that all the channels being used for the press release must be syndicated together. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other platform you are using for the release must be In Sync, and you must have access to their dashboard. It would help if you focused on branding and credibility, which will increase the social media traction towards your product.
Social media traction
You can use any social branding, marketing, and distribution agency for increasing your social media traction. Services like the Pitch Engine allow you to keep track of the analytics and traction that the press release provides. You can boost the release using these search engines to gain brand awareness and create a buzz.
Repost a unique teaser
You must not repost your press release on the website, as this can reduce the authenticity of the content and bring down your ranking on the search engines. It would help if you shared a unique teaser that you can link to the press release. It creates a buzz and also enhances the credibility of your brand.
Enhance the aesthetics
The finishing touches, as discussed earlier, are a must. The add-ons are of great value. You can add images, videos, or hyperlinks without any increased costs. These visuals are worth a thousand words and will improve your social media presence and brand value.
Make the most of what you got!
The image of your brand and public relations depends on how well you use your marketing tools. Your company will have success with the press releases if you follow these laid down rules. Please make the most of it and gain trust and credibility amongst the audience. We turn to social media for all the news these days, and this has opened up a new world of opportunities for businesses. Reporters are always searching for helpful content, and they love to share it with the audience.
If you create a complete package in the form of a press release, it will surely appeal to the media and your target audience. Just remember to be concise, focus on your audience, use target keywords, hook with your headlines, and craft a relatable body using multimedia and correct contact information. It will provide you with a highly relatable release that will maximize your brand’s chances of becoming the talk of the town. So remember, make the most out of it!