Press releases are useful for two main reasons. First, they keep the media and your industry informed of your company’s most recent efforts. Second, they stimulate interest in reporters so they will write about your company.
While some may argue that the press release is dead, many still believe in its simple calculus. In fact, some 3,000 news releases are distributed each day through BusinessWire, Marketwire, PrimeNewswire, PR Newswire and PR Web.
If you plan to be one of those 3,000, how can you differentiate your message?
Reg Rowe, founder of GrayHairPR, a virtual PR agency based in Dallas, shares a few ideas on where to start:
Cutting the Clutter
Before you write the first word of a news release, put yourself into the role of a reporter and ask the following questions:
- Is this really news?
- Is it interesting?
- Will my readers/ listeners/viewers care?
- Is it timely?
- Is it unique?
If there are any negative answers to the above questions, you might want to rethink the release.
Know Your Audience
To whom are you writing? Knowing the answer to that question can make all the difference. Remember:
- Don’t get caught up in technical/scientific jargon (e.g. heliocentric theory) unless you’re writing for a technical/scientific audience. If you’re writing for the general public, make sure you describe the sun, not heliocentric theory.
- Humanize your leads. An attention-grabbing headline and real-life examples will get media reps to read the rest of the release about the study and its findings.
Pump Up the Volume
We are deep in the Visual Age. Painting pictures with your words is now rivaled in importance by visual images accompanying your news release. All media—TV, radio, print, online—want images that help tell the story.
- Create a digital news release. It provides all media with a story in the format they each desire: a tracked video package and B-roll for TV; audio tracks for radio; a news release; and supporting graphics and collateral for print and all of the above and links to other information for online outlets.
- Video can be repurposed on your corporate website or sent to stakeholders or potential customers.
To learn more about creating effective, attention-grabbing press releases, attend PR News' Press Release Writing Webinar on Thursday, March 27.
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene