Press releases can be the cornerstone of your public relations strategy. These brief, detailed documents can lead journalists, business partners, as well as potential and current customers to your products and announcements, and even create brand awareness for your business overall.
Press releases that garner news coverage need to intrigue journalists – but there’s more to writing a release than a catchy headline or a well-drafted quote. They can often be the spark that leads to a television, radio or print interview. Below you’ll find a few tips to ensure your press release results in coverage.
Provide Value and Authority
Journalists’ in-boxes are jam-packed with pitches, media alerts and press releases. This means you need to ensure your release stands out.
The best way to do this is to provide new or interesting information and to showcase your company’s expertise in a specific area. If your press release references a product that was released last month or highlights an update many of your competitors already offer, take a step back and reevaluate the goal of the release. Are you bringing something new to the table? What makes this offering unique to your company and sets you apart from your competitors?
Including a quote from a company leader is a great tactic. The quote should always add value to the release, and it can create a sense of authority for your company and its leaders – cementing you as an industry expert.
Another quick way to provide value to the media is to quantify your claim. That means hard numbers supported by proof, which can be incredibly helpful to journalists. You’ll take researching your claim off their to-do lists, and adding data shows your company is leading the pack among your competitors.
Yes, you want to draft a headline that turns heads, sparks interest and has journalists fracturing their index fingers to quickly click and open your email. But a great headline isn’t enough if you can’t make your point in a few sentences.
Remember when we talked about how many emails journalists receive? This is exactly the reason you need to get your key message across succinctly and at the beginning of your release. If there is interest, the first paragraph should be enough to hook them. Then you can use the rest of the document to take readers through a journey and back up your claims.
The release should grab journalists’ interest but it’s not enough to have great information if there are grammar and spelling errors throughout your copy. Even though these mistakes are likely just oversights, it can insinuate your company didn’t care enough to reread the release before sending. Whether or not it was your intention, journalists – who have made their livelihood by drafting great copy – can be insulted that you didn’t take the time to send something with care. This can be combated by having a colleague review and proofread your release. The more eyes on each document, the better chance you have to catch an error.
Get it in the Right Hands (or on the Right Screens)
Who you send your press release to is as important as what your press release says. You can draft everything to perfection but if you distribute to the wrong audience, you aren’t likely to have the story picked up. There are many ways to curate a great distribution list. There are paid platforms like Cision and Meltwater with extensive media databases where you can search by beat or industry and even target by geographic location. On the other hand, old fashioned web research is incredibly effective as well. Many journalists have their outlet listed in their Twitter or LinkedIn bios in addition to the topics they cover.
A well thought out message, in the right hands, sent at the right time is the first step to having your business featured in the news. Take a little extra time to check these boxes before sending your next release and I’m sure you’ll see an increase in coverage.
57% of top tier publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week (Fractl, 2019)
At KWSM, our brand journalists specialize in multimedia press releases, online media placement, and influencer outreach. If your business could benefit from a boost in media coverage, we can help.
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