“April showers bring May flowers” – that’s how the old saying goes. But what can you do to help bring more media attention your way this spring?
Press releases are one way you can help drive more visibility for your company, product or service.
While you may read press releases are dead, they’re not. They are, in fact, alive and well. They play an important role in a public relations program.
That doesn’t mean that all press releases are created equal. In general, there are some basics you should pay attention to to ensure your release doesn’t end up in an editor’s trash bin.
Let’s look at six dos and don’ts for your next press release:
1. Keep it concise
No reporter has time to wade through a press release that’s TOO long. But what’s the optimal length? A good goal to shoot for is 400-600 words. That’s about a page to a page and a half.
2. Include a boilerplate
So, what is a boilerplate? Once when I was giving a presentation, someone raised a hand to ask a question about the “boilermaker.” That’s a different thing entirely!
A boilerplate is an “About Us” paragraph that tells where the company is located, includes its website and tells a little about its philosophy or approach. It should be consistent and used at the end of every press release.
3. Proofread your press release
This should go without saying, but a press release riddled with typos isn’t going to win you any fans.
Carefully review the release. Have someone else review it. You can even use an app like Grammarly to check it for errors. Misspelled words and other mistakes take the reader away from the intended message and hurt your credibility.
4. Include a quote or two
Quotes help bring a press release to life. Who should you quote? You’ll want to tap your CEO or another high-level executive for a quote. You can also include a second quote from a customer or other third-party like a partner or an industry analyst.
Try to cap it at two quotes per release. If you need to include others, consider compiling a quote sheet that could accompany the release.
5. Sweat the details
How many times have you seen announcements about events and notice that the date, time and/or location are missing? These are the details people need to know.
Be sure to triple-check any numbers in your release. Getting even one digit wrong can throw off phone numbers, dates and addresses.
While you’re at it, check all your links to ensure they work correctly. And, don’t forget to include your contact information. Use only email addresses and phone numbers that are frequently monitored so that if a reporter reaches out with a question, someone can respond right away.
6. Ban the buzzwords
While it may be tempting to include every industry buzzword out there, don’t.
Use words like “groundbreaking” or “revolutionary” sparingly in releases. And never claim you’re the “leading provider” or the “first to market”—unless you can back up that claim.
Now that you have the press release, what should you do with it? Here are a few options.
1. Post it on your site
You’ll certainly want to post the release on your site. If you have an area for “News,” that’s where it should go.
2. Share it on social media
You can share the press release on your social media channels. Write a brief post to accompany it and try to include an image, if you have one.
3. Send it over the wire
If you want to get a wider distribution, try issuing the release on a wire service. This gets it out to major publications and can also help maximize the SEO benefits. Some popular wire services include PRWeb, PR Newswire and Businesswire.
4. Pitch it to media
If you want to ensure journalists see the press release, you’ll need to pitch it to them directly. Send it via email with a cover note. Offer to send an image or logo upon request. This can be especially effective with trade magazines.
5. Share it internally
Does everyone in your company know about the news in the press release? They should. Be sure to share it with the internal team, too.
6. Turn it into a blog post
Maybe there’s an angle you can take to turn the release into a blog post. Expand on the way a customer is using the product, for example. Or pull a piece of data from the release that you can delve into more deeply.
One last note – be sure to monitor for coverage. Use a service like Critical Mention to capture any mentions of your brand in the news.
There you have some suggestions to improve your next press release—and get more mileage out of it, once it’s written.
Try these press release tips to keep the media coverage “raining down” all year long.
By Michelle Garrett, Garrett Public Relations
You’ll find Michelle Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations consultant, content writer, blogger and speaker, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in publications including Entrepreneur, Forbes, Ragan’s PR Daily and Spin Sucks. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica and sits on the advisory council of the National Organization of American Women in Public Relations (Women in PR USA™).