Press releases are a good way of getting some publicity for your brand, but how do you get your press release out there in the first place?
Here are some of the basics, from writing the release to getting it to the target audience.
1. Real Research
A press release isn’t an advert, so make sure you’ve got something to say – if you’re an established brand, simply commenting on a situation might be OK, but often you’ll need to add some statistics or original research of your own.
In essence, ask yourself where your press release has come from – if the answer is “research” or “informed opinion” you should go ahead and publish, but if it’s “I made it up”, it may lack the meat needed by journalists to turn it into an article.
2. Simple Signposts
A press release isn’t an article, so write it for a journalist to read, rather than for a consumer.
Start with a clear and catchy headline, and follow it with bullet points that summarise the key findings of your research, or the key points you’re trying to get across.
The ideal press release combines bullet points up top with hard facts – such as statistics – in more detail further down, all tied up with a comment or quote that doesn’t sound overly self-promotional.
3. Trending Topics
I’m not suggesting you get your ideas for press releases directly from Twitter, but apply the ‘trending topics’ approach and choose your subjects from the most headline-grabbing stories in your industry.
The more noise there is surrounding your subject, the more likely it is that journalists are out there looking for a scoop – increasing your chances of getting a write-up for your press release in the newspapers, online news pages and blogs.
4. Push and Pull
Try different methods of distribution to learn what works best for you – publish press releases on your website to attract search traffic, or on a general press release site, as a basic starting point.
If there are press distribution sites specific to your industry – such as finance or property, among others – find out how to place your press release there, so you’re targeting the right journalists.
Finally, if you have specific press contacts at agencies or newspapers, make sure you send your press release to them so that they can write it up as an article – the trade press for your particular industry is an excellent starting point for this.
5. Follow Through
Few news stories happen in isolation, so keep a close eye on your chosen subject to see how it develops – and make sure yours is the leading voice in your industry when the press need a comment.
Put clear contact details – both phone and email, with a specific contact name – at the bottom of each press release, so you can give a unique comment to journalists who don’t want to use the standard quote from your press release.
And if circumstances change and it’s worth making further comment, publish a follow-up release – repetition is good for SEO if you’re publishing on your own website, and should help hammer home that you’re a leading voice on the subject.