Press Releases (Part 2 of 2)

In my last blog post on press releases I mentioned that I would give you some tips on how to write a press release.  So here is that information:

When you write a press release it should have the following:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Date and where you are.
  • Body of the press release
  • Boilerplate statement
  • Contact information

If you’re writing your press release confident that you’re going to get free publicity or you’re doing it more because you want to build up authority and backlinks to your website you should still follow this formula.  Because who knows, if you do this right you may get picked up.

So when writing a press release here’s the main things you should be doing:

Get Attention Fast!

The opening of your press release must clearly and quickly get attention for your news.  You only have a few seconds to get a person’s attention so make sure your headline and opening sentence are very attention grabbing.

Name Yourself Or Product/Service

Early on in the press release you should name your product, service or who you are if it’s relevant.

Write Professionally

You should not include any hype or exclamation points in your press release.  Your press release should not look like an ad.  Sometimes an organization will just publish a press release as is.  But they will never do that if it appears to be like an ad.  Or if the writing is not very professional.  So write professionally when creating your press release.  Or get the press release written for you if you’re struggling.

Write In Plain English

Don’t use insider words or jargon when writing a press release.  Use plain English and use words that a 12 year old could understand.  If you’re in a technical field and have to use technical words make sure you limit them as much as possible.

Find The Story

When writing your press release you need to constantly ask yourself whether anyone would care about what you’re writing.  If they wouldn’t then don’t put it in. Your press release needs to highlight something new and provide useful information to your potential audience.

Don’t Use Clichés

Do not put things in your press release like… “we are the best” or “you’ll get great customer service.”

Find A Hook

If you can, tie your press release to a current event or a recent study…or a trend or a social issue then you’ll get a lot more publicity for your story.

Link To Your Website

In your press release link to your website with keywords.  For example, if your website is about fishing lures then somewhere in your press release you should link from the words fishing lures to your website.

Don’t Give Away The Full Story

After people read your press release they should be left wanting more.  If you don’t do this then people may read your press release and not click the link to go to your website.

Hype Free

In your press release you must remain understated and avoid all hype or exaggerations.

Limit Words

When writing your press release you must limit the words you use to make the press release as factual as possible.  So instead of writing something like…

“This valentine’s day xyz company is celebrating the day by giving every customer a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”

Put it like this…

“XYZ company is giving away a bouquet of flowers to every customer this valentine’s day.”

Every sentence you write you should see if you can cut the word count down.

Get It Proofread

Before you put up your press release make sure you get it proofread because once it’s up you can’t edit it when it’s out on lots of different websites.  Make sure it’s “right” before making it live.

Use Quotes

Anytime in a press release you have the words I, we or us it should be in a quote e.g.

“We made the commitment to become the leader in xyz technology and have now been certified as the best in our class.”

Ok, let’s now look at some of the specifics of writing a press release starting with…

The Headline

When you write a headline for your press release it must provide information and get the reader’s attention quickly.  It must also make the reader want to learn more.

The ad writing principles I have taught you in past lessons apply here BUT it must be more reserved copy.

You should make your headline less than 170 characters and you must capitalize the first letter of Every Word Like This.

It’s also important that you use the keyword that people will search to find information like you’ve got in your press release.

The Summary

This is just a paragraph that follows the headline and gives a brief overview of your story.  This should be about 1 to 4 sentences in length.  In this summary you should include your company or product name.  Or even your name because sometimes distribution outlets will only have the headline, summary and a link to your press release.

So a) you need to have the summary paragraph and b) you need to include your business, product/service or your name in the summary.

Date And Where You Are

You simply need to include the date and where your company is situated.

The Lead Paragraph

In the first couple of sentences of your press release you should be stating the news in simple and easy way to understand.  The first paragraph should cover most of the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” type of questions.

The Body Copy

This is where you tell your story in more details.  What you’re doing though is providing the reader with interesting information.  But when you’re doing this you need to keep the tone neutral and objective.  It’s a press release not an ad!

The length of the body copy should be about the 600 word range.  But it can be as short as 300 words.  So don’t put in extra words to bulk it up.  If your body copy is 300 words then so be it.

In this section you want to…

  • Add proof to support any claims you’re making
  • Add interest with stories or quotes
  • Add statistics, charts etc.
  • Have links to your website

Final Paragraph

In the final paragraph of your press release you want to summarize the key points of your release.  Plus you can include information where the reader can find out more about your product or service.

Boilerplate Statement

A boilerplate statement is simply a statement about your company or organization that does not change.  It’s an “about your company” type of statement.

Contact Information

This is simply a way that anyone can reach you if they want more information about your story.  You can include an email address, website, phone number, physical address etc.

 

Press Releases (Part 1 of 2)

Today in this blog post I’m going to talk about press releases.  Now press releases is a huge subject that can’t be fully covered in one blog post and I don’t intend to because there are experts out there that you should hire if you want to do this right and get HUGE publicity over the long term.

But I want to give you a good overview of how to use press releases in your Internet business so you can get a picture of how they can fit in to your business.

Now to start with, there are two main reasons why a person/company will do a press release.  The first is to get a reporter to actually give you a call or contact you for more information OR for a reporter to run your press release (close to how it is) as a story because it’s “news” worthy.

The second main reason you would want to run a press release is to get links back to your website which will build up credibility for your website and get some traffic.

So before doing a press release you need to understand your goals of the press release and then try to create your press release to meet your goals.

Ok, let’s now look at what is needed to actually get a reporter to call you if that’s your goal.

Press Release To Get Publicity

If you’re doing a press release to get publicity then you need to understand something very, very important.

Your press release must make it easy for reporters to put together an interesting story for their audience.

In short, you must give reporters what they want which is an interesting story that will make them look good and their audience will enjoy.

So it’s not about you.

Most people fail with press release because they are boring. Whenever you write a press release it must have potential for a fun and/or interesting story.

Generally, putting out a press release saying you’ve just hired “Bob Smith” is not going to get any publicity unless you’re already a huge corporate business.

When you look at stories in the news they are generally:

  • Sensational/Scandal
  • Bad News i.e. plane crashes, murders etc.
  • New discoveries
  • Weird/unusual things
  • Events

One of the easiest ways to get publicity is to tie your story to an event.

For example, let’s say you run a therapeutic massage business and Mother’s day is coming up.  Reporters will be on the lookout for stories around mother’s day.  So you could write up a press release letting reporters know that you’re giving away 10 free massages to mum’s for Mother’s day because you know how stressful being a mum is.  Or instead of giving away massages you could have a half price special just for Mums.

Do you think a story like that has a good chance of getting taken up in a local paper?

Of course it does.  But if you just had a half price special and put out a press release on that then who cares.  The reporter isn’t going to care.  That’s not going to make them look good with their audience.

But a feel good story about Mother’s day along with a free offer will.

So the take away for you here is that if you can tie a story to an event that is the absolute best possible chance for you to get FREE publicity.  If there is an event going on then reporters are looking for a story related to that event.

The other thing on that list that you would likely get picked up as a story would be a new discovery.  Now this discovery has to be really NEW.  It can’t be something like you discovered that if you ate less then you’d lose weight. :-)

It’s got to be something really new.

From my experience with press releases I would generally advise an offline business to try and tie a story they have in with an event and they’ll likely get publicity.  This can also be true online as well but it does work better offline.

Now if you have a truly big discovery then you could get a lot of publicity that could set up your business for a very long time.  I’ve heard of that happening with just one press release.  But that is the exception rather than the rule.

If you have generic type of information product that solves a common problem then you will not get publicity.

Now there are exceptions to this rule and here’s an example.  Let’s say you have an information product that claims to have an instant cure for the common cold.  And part of your instant cure is that you eat an uncooked clove of garlic.

Will you get publicity for that?

Maybe, but it will be more in the weird things category.  You won’t be taken seriously but rather you’ll be seen as some crack pot with a crazy idea.

If you have something like that and you don’t mind being seen by a lot of people as being crazy then that’s an angle you can take with your press release.

So you have to think about the angle of your press release very carefully before you try to get publicity.  Because if you’re going to spend money on a press release then you need to have a high chance it’s going to pay off in terms of getting publicity for your business.

To do this right however I suggest you hire a person to write you up a press release for you.  Just go on eLance.com and hire someone.  It won’t cost that much.  And then you can also hire someone (it may even be the same person who writes your press release) to get your press release out there into the right hands.  Or you can use services like:

  • PRWeb.com
  • BusinessWire.com
  • PRNewsWire.com
  • PRLeap.com

….to do this but my experience with press releases is that you need to find someone that has good contacts already if you want a reporter to call you.

So let’s say you don’t think your product or service has a good chance of getting publicity then you can still use press releases to improve your business and here’s how…

Press Release To Build Up Authority

Let’s say you have a pretty generic product/service but you wouldn’t mind a bit more good quality links for your websites to build up authority.  Also, you wouldn’t mind getting your name out there so your visibility is increased.  One very easy way to do that is to write up a press release and then submit it to a free press release submission service online.

Here’s a list of some free ones:

  • I-Newswire.com
  • Free-Press-Release-Center.info
  • PressMethod.com
  • TheOpenPress.com
  • EcommWire.com
  • 24-7 PressRelease.com
  • PR-Inside.com
  • NewswireToday.com
  • 1888PressRelease.com
  • OpenPR.com
  • PR.com
  • PRLog.org
  • Free-Press-Release.com

In my next blog post I’m going to show you how to write a press release so you can get it out there.