How To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed By The Media

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Get noticed by the mediaWould you like some free press coverage?

Could you benefit from a simple formula to write a winning press release? 

If so read on because in today’s article you’ll discover five top tips to help your news release stand out and increase its chance of making it into print.

Are you using PR as a marketing tool for your micro business?

As you know appearing in the media is a proven way to raise your profile and build the reputation of your micro business. And a great way to secure that coverage is through a well written press release.

You see when you have an interesting story that is newsworthy, you’ll want to let your target media know.

But be warned. Good press releases have a proven formula. Get it right and you’ll increase your chances of securing some valuable column inches, get it wrong and your attempt will hit the bin!

Is it news?

A common mistake micro businesses make is to approach their press release in the same way as their advertising.

Do this and your stories will not get covered. You see, however tempting, press releases are not the time to pitch a sale. Instead they are your opportunity to share interesting news that gets your target customer talking.

This may sound obvious, but before you do anything else check your story is :

  1. News­wor­thy.
  2. New.

Don’t write about some­thing that hap­pened ages ago and only write about a topic that will genuinely interest read­ers of your tar­get publication. You need to be very strict with yourself on this. Ask the question and if you have any doubt consider waiting until a juicier story crops up.

Choose the right angle

Next you must pick a com­pelling and inter­est­ing angle for your press release.

Your aim is to stand out from the mass of other com­pet­ing news. Some good ideas include:

  • Hook your story onto some­thing topical.
  • Mention of an individual.
  • If it’s local news link it to a locality.
  • Talk about a significant benefit etc.

Your hook will most likely feature in your press release headline. Your headline is also your tool to get noticed by a journalist. So give it careful thought and attention.

Hone your struc­ture

Once you’ve attracted attention with your headline, the next step is to help your reader through your story. Try these tips for a winning press release structure.

  1. Start with a punchy head­line. It should cap­ture the most impor­tant point in your story.
  2. Next use an, “inverted pyra­mid”. All this means is you start your story with the most important bits, and leave the least 
rel­e­vant details for the end (just look at any newspaper article and you’ll see this in practice. Notice how the article flows. The more you read, the more detail you’ll discover. BUT take away this detail and you’ll still grasp the main essence of the news).
  3. Use your first paragraph to sum up the crux of your story. You need to be ruth­less. Cut unnec­es­sary waf­fle and really focus in on the essence of the story. Think “if this is the only part of my press release that gets read, what does the reader need to know to understand?”

    The first para­graph is the most read part of your press release after the headline.

  4. Finally, add a quote from a named per­son (not a “com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive”) and back it up with a relevant pho­to­graph combined with a caption. With­out these your story is too dry and boring. Just notice the stories you take most notice of in the press – those with images draw more eye than those without.

It’s news, not an advert!

I’ll say it again – never use a press release as a disguised sales pitch.

If you want to specifically sell something, you’ll need to consider paid advertising space! A news release is designed for news – so be prepared to compromise on the angle that you would like to push for the benefit of gaining column inches.

In terms of tone author­i­ta­tive and infor­ma­tive is always bet­ter than pushy and salesy.

Optimisation

If you are planning to publish your press release online you should consider including key­words. However, remember who you are writing for. Key­word stuffed press releases are unappetising and are more likely to turn off your reader.

Beware…

Even if you adopt these tips, there’s still no guar­an­tee of pub­li­ca­tion.

That’s because what appears in the media is also influ­enced by what else is hap­pen­ing in the news. In addition, your chances of media coverage can also be influenced by your contacts.

Despite these challenges, positive media coverage can prove invaluable to your business. And that means it’s worth devis­ing a longer-term strat­egy. Some say you should look at issuing a press release every month.   Regularity is a good approach and it’s definitely worth writing a press release whenever you have a great story to tell. So try it and see if it makes a difference to the reputation of your business.


micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Identify stories from your micro business which you could write into a press release to gain media coverage.