Importance of Press Releases
Do you know that some articles you see on news sites and magazines are products of a simple press release? A press release is a written, promotional article, usually written by a professional and sent to media outlets.
When a company makes huge changes, launches a new product or service, they create a press release to be published by the media. If their press release is compelling and interesting enough, it raises awareness, curiosity and participation from members of the community.
So why go through such formality when there are so many ways to disseminate information? Well, press releases have their own advantage. Here are some to name a few:
- Good for PR – Public relations is a difficult task for small and new businesses. It’s also hard to market one’s products and services because nobody knows who you are. By publishing a press release, you can count on the reputation of the media outlet and their influence on the public. Through them, you can spread information about an important event, promotion or new product or service.
- Wide Reach – People say that press releases are not as effective as they used to be because nobody reads newspapers anymore. They’re forgetting that it’s not limited to traditional media. You can publish press releases on online news sites, radio and television. Online news sites are frequently visited by people on their mobile devices, so press releases actually have a wider reach today.
- More credibility – If you advertise your products, services and events yourself, people might not trust you, especially if your business is new. However, if you have a press release at a local newspaper, then that gives you a lot of points in credibility. After all, if it is published in print and broadcast media, then it must be legitimate.
Elements of A Press Release
Writing a press release is not as easy as it looks, which is why most companies would rather outsource this task to professionals rather than do it themselves. However, if you or one of your employees would like to give it a go, writing press releases is always a good skill to learn.
To facilitate your foray into writing press releases, here are some things your press release should never be without. These elements make press releases what they are.
- Release Notice – While most press releases go with a notice for immediate release, some might contain a note saying it should be published on this day for certain reasons.
- Headline – Your press release should include a headline that interests the reader without being too wordy. Take care that the headline doesn’t sound like a sales pitch.
- Lead Statement – The first paragraph should contain the what, the where, the when and the why.
- Body – The content is what differentiates a press release from other promotional material. For one, even if you are promoting your business, it should never sound gimmicky. Don’t use a selling tone; instead, just be informative.
- Date and Location
- Boilerplate – A small blurb about the company. Include the company name, field and industry, location, founding date and a summary of products and offers.
- Contact Information – This is not published to the public. Instead, this contact information is for the media, so that they contact the company should any new developments regarding the press release occur.
This is just the framework of your press release. Now that you know the important elements, it’s now time to put together the press release, step by step.
Step-by-Step Guide To Writing A Press Release
Now that you know the basics, it’s time for the real deal. This step-by-step guide will help you complete an effective press release easily.
Step #1: Create a Headline
This is the first thing your readers will see, so your headline should grab and keep your readers’ attention. It must be short and brief – 10 to 20 words is enough. Pick out important words and use them on your headline. Unlike other articles, headlines should be written like normal sentences, so there’s no need to capitalize every word.
Step #2: Write the Content
There are many things you need to keep in mind when writing the content of your press release. Remember that you’re dealing with the media, so think like a journalist.
In journalism, the first paragraph of an article is called a lead, and it usually contains a summary of important information like the what, when, where and why. You may want to write something suspenseful, but this is a different type of writing. Most readers would lack the attention span to go past the first paragraph, so lay it all out in the open. The lead should have a maximum of 25 words.
Write the rest of your press release. If you are writing about an event, make sure to disclose all the details about the events. If it is a product or service, make sure to give not only the features of the product, but also the benefits. Don’t overdo it though, all you need to do is give information, don’t brag or go into a sales pitch.
Make sure you place quotes in your press release. They could come in the form of a message from a company official. If your product has scientific backing, go ahead and quote the study that supports your product.
Proofread the content twice. Nothing says unprofessional more than blatant spelling errors. The body of your press release should be around 500 words. Don’t make it too long as readers will lose interest in huge chunks of paragraphs. To make it more readable, divide the press release into several paragraphs, with 3-4 sentences per paragraph.
Step #3: Company Information
Directly below the body of the press release, disclose company information. This should only take up one paragraph and should only contain the most important information. When in doubt, check your company brochures. The writing should be similar to the blurb written in front of your company brochure. Include the name of the company, what you sell or offer, date of establishment, location, policies and goals.
Step #4: Contact Information
Leave important contact information so that media outlets can reach you regarding the press release. If you’re writing was compelling enough, the press might even turn it into a story idea and give your company more coverage. Include a link to the online version of the press release.
This may sound easy, but it’s more complicated than it looks, especially if the writer doesn’t have a background in journalism. When in doubt, there are a lot of services you can use online to help you. You can even outsource a press release writer to do the work for you.