Would 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 :
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.
- Start with a punchy headline. It should capture the most important point in your story.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Today’s Micro Action
Identify stories from your micro business which you could write into a press release to gain media coverage.