Press Release Primer: What Your Business Needs to Know
Crafting a powerful press release can help your company unlock new business.
So much of marketing has changed with our digital era. Everything's moved online, creating transition in nearly every industry. Print ads are dying. Keywords are critical. It's a whole new world. There's one marketing strategy that remains as important as ever, though: the press release.
Should your business write press releases?
Press releases aren't relevant for every business every time they have something to announce. But they are relevant to most businesses most of the time. Press releases give your company - and its media contacts - something tangible to publicize. A well-crafted press release is key when:
You begin offering a new service or product
You make a big move with your company's leadership or operations
You have an upcoming event you would like people to attend
You win an award or are otherwise notably recognized
Your press release will answer any questions prospects and existing customers have about your news, helping generate excitement.
What goes in your press release?
There are a few important pieces you need to include in your press release. They are:
Release Timeline. If your press release is ready for publication, write "For Immediate Release" somewhere at the top of the document. This alerts any publications that pick it up that they can incorporate it into their editorial calendar right away.
Headline. You want your press release's headline (i.e. its title) to be both informative and catchy. It's a fine line to walk, so don't be afraid to dedicate some time to brainstorming and refining.
Dateline. Your press release should identify the date of publication and the location of your business. Most publications will want your dateline formatted in AP Style. Here's a guide to help.
Body. As succinctly as possible, answer the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Let's say you're offering a new product. Who is offering it (hint: it's your company!) and who would use it? What is it? Where can people buy it? When will it be available? And, most importantly, why would they want it?
Boilerplate. Include a short paragraph about your business at the end of your press release. To help you get inspiration and fine-tune your formatting, check out this article. It includes links to several great boilerplate examples.
Contact Info. It's standard to include contact info at the end of your press release. This can be as general as your company's main phone number or as specific as an email address and phone extension for the proper point of contact (most commonly your marketing person).
Who gets your press release?
Deciding where to send your press release might feel daunting, but it's actually simple. Just think about anywhere your customers and prospects get their information. Maybe there's a widely-distributed industry magazine. Maybe you're offering something local, and your local newspaper can help you spread the word. Maybe you know most of your customers read the same online news site; that would be a perfect place for your press release.
Getting your press release published isn't as challenging as you might expect. Most publications will offer contact information on their websites. Emailing your press release to those contacts is a great way to start its distribution. Remember, every website, magazine, and paper has to fill their pages (digital or otherwise) with fresh content. Your press release could be exactly what they need!
Who writes your press release?
If your business has a PR or marketing team, they're probably well-equipped to handle all your press release needs. If, however, you'd like some help in that area, I'm here! Contact me for any press releases your business needs. I'm an experienced press release writer and would love the opportunity to help your company get its news out to the world!