Press releases are an essential tool for getting the word out about either your own business or your client's. And the good news is, you don't need to be a PR pro to write one. When you're managing your own public relations campaign, writing press releases should quickly become very natural to you. If you've got news about your product, service or company, then you're ready to experience the power of press releases. And best of all? It's free! But first, let's look into the press release itself.
So, just what is a press release?
It's simple. A press release is a one to two page document used to call attention to your company and its products/services. They are written in very formulaic ways, and with good reason. Hundreds, if not thousands, of these press releases, come onto the scene every day. If they all took different formats, it would be a nightmare for the press to handle.
By making them simple to read, with simple formatting and expected places for dates, times, headlines and so forth, you make the journalist's job much easier. And when you make their lives easier, you are more likely to get coverage in the newspaper, magazine, website, or news broadcast.
For those reasons, it's imperative to learn the building blocks of how to write a press release before you start submitting your releases to the media. Otherwise, you'll start getting a reputation that you're an amateur and your press releases will be ignored.
Sending out press releases - The basics
When you're ready for free media coverage, you send press releases to editors and TV stations. This isn't a guarantee that you'll get free publicity, though. There are many differences between advertising and public relations and in PR, the media is not required to cover your story. You send your press releases hoping they will pick it up for their magazine, newspaper or local newscast.
But you have to be patient. Some publications may take several months to publish your press release. And then there are other publications that will print your release in a few days. It all depends on your news and their schedule.
And television stations are a different story entirely. If you're trying to get airtime for an event, send out your press release to your local TV stations at least two days beforehand. Since news varies from day-to-day, a car crash can prevent stations from covering your event. But your chances are even lower if they receive your press release the same day.
The press release must be newsworthy
Press releases are also known as news releases. Back to basics, it means just that: news. If you've been marketing the same heating pad for 20 years and nothing's changed, there's no reason to write a press release. Editors will snub their nose and then line the bottom of their trash can.
Say your heating pad now has an automatic timer built in for convenience. There's your news! There are several types of press releases you can write. Starting a business. Having new employees joining your team. Your company wins awards. You're working with a charity. Or anything new or different about your business and its product line constitutes a newsworthy press release.
There's a trick to writing press releases, though. Your message has to be newsworthy without sounding like a blatant advertisement. The release is written in an unbiased format so the reader trusts the information to be accurate.
However, there's a clear distinction between advertising and public relations. But if they're written correctly, press releases can be even more effective than advertising.