There are often two approaches in PR, leveraging your connections and storytelling.
While there’s still something to be said about being well-connected – see LinkedIn – relying on friends, old colleagues, and contacts who owe you favors can leave you without a lifeline in a time of need.
When you need to get coverage tomorrow, you can’t call the friend who paid back that favor last week. You’re out of credits.
Storytelling is a superpower.
With a compelling hook and a well-targeted audience, your press releases can cut through the noise of mass distribution that is choking email inboxes.
Journalists – editors, reporters, writers, and bloggers – all love the value of a good story. Solid headlines and subheads can provide them with enough information and value to open your release instead of sending it to the virtual trash can, or worse, marking it as spam.
While it’s great to detail what your business is all about in your press release, you are really writing it for your audience. It’s no different than a blog, website copy, or a social media post.
You MUST answer the question: What’s in it for them?
Journalists are on a deadline. They value creativity; if you can deliver the facts in a compelling way, they usually understand that you’ll be a great interview and provide insightful information.
Read my lips; NOBODY likes a boring interview.
Some journalists don’t have time to chase you down for the story, so write it up, gift wrap it, and deliver the content in an attractive manner. Make sure you’ve written it in a way that a writer can take the elements and make it their own.
Here are five storytelling pieces to include in your awesome press release:
- Compelling headline and sub-headline
- Informative first paragraph with details about the business, along with the who, what, where, when, why
- 2-3 powerful quotes
- More facts about your news peg
- Detailed information about the company in the boilerplate
The Hook: Headline and Sub-Headline
What is your news? Lead with your company’s name and what it is doing and why anybody cares. Here’s an example if we were promoting our PR mentorship program at KWSM.
KWSM: a digital marketing agency Launches an Innovative and Exclusive Public Relations Mentorship Program
Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Orange County, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and San Diego aims at educating aspiring marketing superstars in PR strategies and tools
The Full Story in One Paragraph
If you only have their attention for one paragraph, give them the entire story in one shot. We mean it; give them everything but the kitchen sink. If you leave them hanging or needing more info to determine if they are interested, you’ve already lost them.
Here’s a sample first paragraph using our PR mentorship program press release as an example:
(Orange County) – March 2,, 2020: KWSM, a digital marketing agency with offices in Orange County, CA, San Diego, CA, Atlanta, GA, and Las Vegas, NV, is proud to announce that it is launching an interactive mentorship program to guide up-and-coming marketing professionals with the skills and tools to master PR. The mentorship program is a four-month program held at all of KWSM’s offices and will offer writing techniques, media list-building, and proper distribution techniques for both newswire releases and targeted email distribution.
The Quotes that Inspire
If a journalist doesn’t have time to track you down – and most do not – they will take your words straight from the press release. It is critical you write what you want your target audience to hear. In this case, we want recent grads and aspiring marketers to race to sign up for this program.
Here’s an example of an initial quote, which we would recommend placing right after the introductory paragraph.
“This may be the single most useful tool in an aspiring marketer’s arsenal throughout their career, and this four-month program will deliver more insight and offer more hands-on experience than most students’ four years of college,” said Katie Wagner, President of KWSM: a digital marketing agency. “Our marketers who completed KWSM’s mentorship program have gone on to have successful PR careers, and often return to share their mentorship experiences with other rising marketing superstars.”
The Final Facts
Once you’ve delivered a solid opening line and then backed it up with a compelling quote, it’s time to deliver a few more details.
Here’s an example of what would follow that quote:
The PR Mentorship program runs four-months and will consist of teams of two. These teams will meet bi-weekly to discuss, learn, practice, and develop a real PR campaign.
Mentees will be given hands-on training with Cision, and its main online distribution platform PRWeb. Cision is one of the most powerful PR systems in the marketing industry. Mentors and Mentees will also learn how to construct a press release and prepare it for distribution. They will work on list-building to develop comprehensive media lists of reporters, editors, publishers, bloggers, and influencers.
They will conclude the project by developing a press release campaign, publishing it through PR Web, and using the Cision media lists to send targeted press campaigns. All participants will analyze their results and prepare a report for clients.
The Basics About Your Biz
You’ve delivered your news; now, you have to sell yourself a little. After all, before a journalist takes your story and runs with it, they might want to know about the authority you are portraying in your press release. So, before you hit them with your contact info, share a little about yourself.
Here’s ours at KWSM:
KWSM: a digital marketing agency serves both small to mid-sized businesses that lack either the manpower or the expertise to run a social media marketing campaign in-house and larger corporations who may have a full marketing department but need additional direction with the digital part of their overall marketing strategy. We’ve handled social media for more than 800 organizations in many industries, including Professional Services, Beauty, Fitness & Wellness, Mortgage & Real Estate, Fashion, Retail, Finance, Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, Government, Technology, Medical, Publishing, and E-commerce. Our clients include corporations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, community organizations, and non-profits. We work in both the B2B and B2C space. Learn more about KWSM: a digital marketing agency at www.kwsmdigital.com.
Do you need a PR partner for your business, or are you in need of press release services? We can help. Check out our PR/Influencers page, and make sure to request our 30-minute free audit for your PR needs. Have additional questions about our services? Reach out to us here.
Jeff Soto, Managing Content Editor, KWSM Orange County & KWSM Las Vegas