Wouldn’t it be nice if your organization got a standing ovation for its accomplishments? First, they must hear about it. This is where writing a killer press release comes in.
Of course, you need to write the press release. The Anatomy of a Press Release speaks to composing your press release step by step. Here we are going to focus on planning how you can get that press release picked up and shared.
You need a plan.
Similar to writing a blog, before you sit down at your keyboard to write, you need a strategy.
- Who do you want to learn about your news?
- What is the press release’s intended goal?
- When do you want to share this news?
- Where is the best place to reach your audience?
- Why is it important?
- How will you distribute the press release?
Before you decide what to write, you need to know your angle. There are three different groups that are important to define.
- The people you want to know about the news. Think about your message and who you want to read it.
- The journalists you want to promote your press release. Investigate all news sources and pick the ones that will reach your intended audience.
- Your organization and partners. Who is connected to the news you’re sharing? This could be a board of directors, management, partners, and others involved in the announcement.
What is your angle? You cannot successfully promote something you have not defined. Are you announcing a new product, an event, receiving an award, a community engagement program, new hires, or acquisitions? What do you want the readers to feel or do after they read the release?
This is a big one. Create a timeline to stay on track and make sure you are building excitement. It doesn’t matter how great your press release is if journalists can’t meet their deadline, the event has passed, or the news is outdated.
Try to keep the journalist’s deadline in mind when issuing your press release - this will help increase the probability of your news being shared.
Whether or not your press release is picked up, you need to do some promotion of your own. Should you promote a press release on social media? Absolutely!
Make sure you are sharing what’s relevant to them. If you are sharing on a page that tends to be professional (like LinkedIn) share how the news is meaningful to their profession. Twitter and Facebook need shorter, attention-grabbing posts.
- Create posts teasing the announcement
- Share the news through video
- Provide more information and dive deeper into the news
- Post a link to the article when it comes out to add additional authority to the news
- Wait 24 hours after sending the press release before your organization shares it
- Use hashtags and keywords to target the people who are more likely to be interested in your news
- Invite interaction and discussion and make sure you are watching for and responding to the conversation
What emotional response do you want to evoke? Look for a perspective that readers will care about: local impact, trending topics, progress solving a problem, etc. You might know why you want the news shared, but the journalist and reader need to be convinced.
News outlets prefer electronic submissions. The best way to share your press release with them is through email. The email is equally as important as the press release. If you can’t get them to open and read it, you can’t get published.
Make Them Open It
Don’t use the press release headline. The subject line should pique their curiosity, which means it needs to be relevant to them.
Pump Them Up
If they have published about you before, thank them. Or refer to an article they wrote that you enjoyed. Tell them why you chose their outlet and why their readers would be interested in this. Don’t make this more than one or two sentences and don’t gush.
In 1-3 concise sentences tell them why you are emailing and how it benefits their readers. What is unusual and valuable about your news? If you include a link to more information, include a short summary letting the journalist know what they will find there.
I always end with, “Thank you in advance for considering this information for your audience.”
Make Your Contact Info Known
Add all your contact information including: name, organization, title, email, and phone. Add a mini boilerplate about your business or organization under the contact information.
Check your email and answer your phone. If a journalist wants to cover your story and needs to meet a deadline but can’t get a hold of you for follow up questions, you immediately decrease your chances of being covered.
The Star of the Show
Now you add your amazing press release. Copy and paste it directly into the email followed by any photos you may want to share. Make sure to go back and check for any formatting issues or parts that may not have transferred over properly.
People are weary of the cybersecurity risks involved with attachments. It is also one less step for the journalist because they don’t need to click on anything else.
To sum it up...
Have a plan. Make it meaningful. Edit. Promote.
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