Today, we are going to be looking at everything to do with press releases – what they are, why you need one, and how to write one!
What is a press release?
A press release (also known as a news release or media release) is a one- or two-page statement that is prepared by public relations professionals, and sent out to members of the media with the intention of generating media coverage.
This flexible marketing tool can be used to share just about any piece of important news with your target audience and other interested parties.
There are many different types of press releases, each of which may be used for a different purpose, depending on the type of news you’re looking to announce.
For example, you might send out a press release to announce product launches, events, grand openings, or product or marketing campaigns.
Alternatively, you might send out a release to announce that your business has won an award, achieved some other accomplishment, undergone a rebrand, or entered a new partnership.
Each type of press release will be structured in a slightly different way, though all will share the same common features. We will look at what goes into a “good” press release later on in this article.
Why do you need a press release?
Before we jump into the “why’s” of press releases though, we wanted to get one big misconception out the way first. And that is: “Why do I need a press release? It’s not like anyone really reads newspapers now anyway.”
It’s true: with the rise of social media, influencer marketing, and other methods of digital marketing, some businesses see getting featured in newspapers, magazines, and online news outlets as an outdated and redundant marketing practice.
However, the truth is that conventional media coverage can still have loads of benefits – especially for small businesses.
For example, getting coverage of your products and services in news stories can help to:
- Build brand awareness
- Enhance your company’s image
- Boost your visibility as a brand
- Increase your authority as a leader in your industry
- Provide important information to your target audience or other interested parties
Media coverage can also go a long way in driving the purchasing decisions of potential customers in your target market. In fact, research shows that customers see print and media advertising as the most trustworthy advertising medium, as well as one of the most effective in influencing them to make a purchase.
Because there are so many benefits to generating media coverage for your brand, this is definitely something that you should be including in your business’s marketing strategy.
How do I write a press release?
If you’re new to this type of marketing, you’re probably wondering: how do I start getting my product or service out in front of journalists and the media? The answer is: send a press release!
An effective press release is the main tool that you will need any time you want to approach a reporter or journalist with your story idea. However, for your press release to be successful, it is essential that you make it effective.
What this means is making it stand out from all the others that journalists receive on any given day. In fact, some journalists report receiving up to 300 – 400 press releases per day, so you can see why it’s so essential that yours stands out from the crowd.
Doing so will maximise your chance of success at securing media coverage for your business, brand, or product.
The good news is that writing an effective press release doesn’t have to be hard. If you know the correct press release format, and understand what journalists are looking for in a “good” release, the process can actually be quite easy!
To be effective, you will need to make sure that your press release includes:
- Your company name and contact information in the top left (including your phone number, email address, and postal address)
- Either “Immediate Release” (if your press release is to be published immediately) or “Embargoed Until (Date)” (if your press release is not to be published until a certain date) at the top
- A clear, catchy, attention-grabbing title that summarises the key points of your story (i.e. the “what”)
- Your location in bold at the start of the first paragraph (e.g. Gold Coast)
- A lead (the introduction or first paragraph), which clearly outlines the who, what, when, where, why, and how’s
- The body (2-3 paragraphs), which provides more information in descending order from most to least importance
- Quotes from 1 – 2 relevant spokespeople
- Bullet points of relevant facts and figures, with references or citations as appropriate
- Closing statement (the last paragraph), which provides general background information about your company and what it does
- Either ### or – END – at the bottom to show that the press release has ended
- Contact details at the end for a PR representative or spokesperson who can assist with enquiries, requests for more information, or supplying additional content
It is also a good idea to make your press release interactive by including plenty of relevant multimedia content. This might include:
- High-definition photos
- High-quality videos
- Links to additional content (e.g. your website)
- Social media sharing buttons
This point is so important, particularly when it comes to making your press release stand out in the digital age. In fact, research shows that journalists are also more likely to use press releases that come with images, links, videos, graphics, or charts.
If you follow this structure, and ensure your press release includes all of these things, you make journalists’ jobs that much easier, therefore maximising your chances of successfully securing coverage.
If you still need help writing a press release, feel free to reach out to us. Press release writing is just one of the services that our copywriting team offers at Tomedia, click to find out more.