Want to engage industry and local media? A well-crafted press release is a tool for positioning your brand in front of a larger audience via press coverage. It’s a short piece with a simple structure, but the writing should be anything but basic. If you want to give your press release legs, you’re going to have to package your story in such a way that a busy journalist sifting through hundreds of emails will feel compelled to stop and read it—and it should be so well-written that they don’t think twice about publishing it.
Follow these three steps for writing a press release that actually gets published so you can share your company’s great news with the world.
Figure Out the Un-Boring Angle
Before you write a press release, ask yourself, “Is this newsworthy?” When you’re the size of Microsoft or Apple, even the latest bug fix or minor update is news. But as a smaller technology business, you have to figure out a way to make reporters care. To do that, ask yourself if your story has one of these elements journalists care about:
- Competition—the best stories normally involve some type of conflict. Are you bold enough to call out a competitor’s approach and serve up a better alternative? Are you a little guy raking in more of your fair share of market revenue? These are the types of conflicts that can snag a reporter’s attention while maintaining a positive image for your brand.
- Geographic location—reporters typically cover a specific area so if you can tie your story to a geographical location and show that it’s relevant to the people who live there, it will give your press release legs.
- Extremity—as in the new and the next, the best, latest, greatest, most, cutting-edge—if you can apply one of these superlatives to your story, it’s probably newsworthy and will get some attention.
Write a Killer Headline
The only thing harder than finding a newsworthy story angle is writing a headline that will actually inspire a journalist to open your email. Make no mistake—this is the most important part of your press release. Think about the number of emails a reporter gets in a day—even if you’ve figured out the perfect angle and crafted an outstanding press release, no one will read it if your headline doesn’t capture his/her attention. A few tips for writing a great headline:
- Keep it short—tease the story without going into granular details. An air of mystery makes the story worth reading.
- Be clear—steer clear of gimmicks and avoid forcing your wit.
- Be accurate—the easiest way to irritate a journalist is to send them a story that has nothing to do with the headline. Do this too often and they will simply mark your emails for their junk folder.
- Write for the front page—think about headlines that make you pick up a newspaper or magazine, or click on a story online. Ask yourself who cares and why, then model your headlines after those stories.
- Use active voice—passive voice is both uninspiring and wordy. Plus, journalists will assume the press release will need too much editing and skip it.
To. The. Point.
Immediately. Forget about the standard 5w order. The first few sentences should answer:
- Who cares
Establish the newsworthiness first, then filter in details that pull the story together. Think of crafting your press release like a meal at a fine restaurant: serve up a piping hot appetizer—the first paragraph—that is delicious enough to get everyone excited for a meal but not filling enough for them to feel satiated. Then give them the meat and potatoes—story details and relevant quotes to make up the body of your story. Offer dessert at the end—additional information that adds to the story but isn’t required to make your point.
Writing a press release can be challenging when you’re busy running a business. If you don’t think you can add one more thing to your plate, you may need a partner that can help you refine your public relations strategy. Marketopia—the IT channel’s leading marketing agency for vendors, service providers and other industry partners—can help you communicate more effectively. For more information about how Marketopia can help you master public relations check out our vendor marketing solutions. You can also reach us at 844-4U2-Grow (482-4769), ext. 806, or email us.
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