Sending press releases seems like a great way to get free advertising, right? Not so fast. Many businesses don’t spend much time on this tactic and become frustrated when it doesn’t work for them. Here are some simple tips to help you produce a quality news release that can capture attention of the media.
Creating a Media List
Often, we just think of area news media or particular trade publications as places to send our news releases. Get creative and seek out news outlets that best match your target audience or referral network, such as:
- Industry bloggers
- Niche publications
- Local Newspapers and Television
- Chambers of Commerce or other membership organizations
- Regional or statewide professional organizations
- Alumni Associations or educational institutions where you graduated from
Communicating with Journalists
When forwarding a press release it is tempting to blanket all e-mails with the same information. If time allows, you may wish to choose a few to address individually with a cover note and attachment. If it’s a journalist who has covered you in the past, start by thanking that person for their past coverage. Ask him or her to please consider including the information you are presenting, and invite them to follow up with you for more information. Include relevant photos whenever they are available. E-mail delivery preferred for most media. If there is a particular journalist you follow, don’t hesitate to reach out to this person with compliments on other articles that you find appealing.
Formatting & Photos
Always include a date, contact information, a worthwhile announcement or article, and #end#. Sending as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file is fine. If it’s a brief announcement, the body of the e-mail is OK, but an attached document is typically preferred. Include a photo with caption whenever possible.
- Company expansion or addition of new services
- Awards, major anniversary, or other announcement
- Compelling Human Interest story
- Special Events
- Unique projects or capabilities or recent project completion
- Connection to a timely national or seasonal topic
- MAKE SURE YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT IS RELEVANT TO THE AUDIENCE AND HAS SOME NEWS VALUE
What might seem like news to you might not be newsworthy to media people. Does your news announcement relate to a larger national story? Does it fit in with the trade journal’s editorial calendar for topic coverage? Do you have other community ties to the release beyond simply an announcement about your business? The more interesting and relevant your release and topic, the more likely it is to be covered by media. Refer to this press release guide each time you have company news to share.