To write an effective press release stop thinking about your business for a moment instead put yourself in the seat of the journalist. Companies publishing press releases often think that their only target audience is their customer. This is true to an extent, but the most important audience is the journalist who will read your press releases and decide if they should be printed or published. When it comes to a press release, the first impression is the only impression with editors. If a press release does not fulfill a current need they have to tell a story then your press releases will just keep gathering dust and will not get you the attention you need.
The key difference between writing a press release and other forms of marketing is promotion. Though all forms of marketing within a company are about promotion, press releases are not written to “sell” they focus on offering valuable information, though the press release does advertise your business product or service it is not an advertisement. To target your press release to the journalist who is reading the information you have to answer the questions that help a journalist tell a story.
Before sending press releases to a specific publication take the time to read the publication. This will help you better write a press release that will be of value to the publications readers, pick up a copy of the publication or read the publication online. As fascinating and interesting as you think your business might be, the journalist is not automatically going to care. As you write the press release make the information pop, gain the journalists attention by making your story emotional. A press release that focuses on a topic with human interest has a broader appeal. As will a press release that finds an angle that readers relate too, for example a press release written for a company that focuses on how their product or service is beneficial to the environment has a broader audience.
Remember; just as you have a business to run, journalists have deadlines too meet and other press releases that warrant their attention. Constant calls to “check up” on your press release will not be appreciated. In fact, calling can help assure that your press release is trashed. The best way to contact a journalist is too wait until they have contacted you first. After a journalist has contacted you and you have built up a relationship with them then it may be acceptable to call and follow up with them after submitting another press release to them. Even better if you feel the need to follow up with your press release do so by email, its unobtrusive and easier for the journalist to send off a brief follow up response.
The biggest mistake that most small business makes when sending out press releases is sending a press release to the wrong person! Make sure you have the correct name, number and other contact information for the person you are sending the press release too. Contact information changes fast and if you submit your press release to the email of a journalist who no longer works for a publication then it can’t get read!