If you’re a digital marketer, you must be very familiar with a press release and how a good copy of a press release can get you an unimaginable coverage.
For those who don’t know what press release is, it’s a short yet compelling news story about a product, service, event, or anything important that is sent to the targeted members of the media for extensive distribution. The initial goal of a press release is to pique the interest of a journalist or publication while the ultimate goal is to get it published.
Small Business Encyclopedia suggests,
A press release is a brief, printed statement that outlines the major facts of a news story in a journalistic style. A press release should read like a news story, written in third-person, citing quotes and sources and containing standard press release information.
But releasing a press release isn’t the same as publishing a blog. There are certain criteria such as it shouldn't be longer than 300-400 words, and the reader should be able to get the gist of the news story in the first two sentences. The tone and style are simpler and appropriate for the content.
Although true, a successful press release doesn't just state the facts. It should tell-tell a compelling story surrounding the facts that the journalist or publication would want to share with their readers.
It’s true that press release is often used to promote a certain brand, product, or service but a good press release shouldn’t excessively self-promote oneself.
But how do you decide if your content is newsworthy?
For your content to be considered newsworthy, there are a few factors that you need to take into account:
- Impact – is someone going to be affected by this information?
- Immediacy – is this urgent news?
- Recognition – is this about something well-known?
Depending on the need and urgency, the press release takes different forms. According to Forbes.com, a press release can take 6 different forms such as
- General News - Any generic 'newsworthy' topic.
- Launch Release - Press release for the launch of a new company, product, website, or initiative.
- Event Press Release - Press release announcing the detail of an event.
- Product Press Release - Press release about a release if a new or consecutive product such as a new series of iPhone.
- Executive, Staff, and Employee Press Release -Announcement of new hires especially those in a high level of management.
- Expert Position Press Release - - Press release to announce the establishment of an individual or brand's credibility in a particular field.
These press releases can often take different forms of medium such as textual, visual, or graphical. Video press release remains the most opted form of press releases today.
Why is a Press Release still relevant in 2020?
Although the marketing and consumption of news have become an entirely different ball game in 2020, many companies and marketers still find press release a relevant way to get the news out. Many people use social media platforms to both distribute and consume news, hence making press releases more of a niche feature. Despite saying that, it still has many advantages.
Press release undoubtedly helps to garner the attention of the journalists and media outlets. These are the niche group of people whom you want to target your press release to. They have far more reach the readers.
Helps build relationship
Journalists need new stories, and your press release could help them find their next story. Press release helps to build a relationship between the content creator (you) and the distributor (journalists and media).
Improves your search engine optimization
A well-formatted press release contains vital keywords and information that could help to propel your search engine optimization approach when it gets published online. Also, if a journalist uses your contributions for an article or blog post, it could get you backlinks from their company’s website which can be useful.
Manage your brand image
The press release specifically tells what you want to tell your audience about your brand. An effective press release is also a good way to control how your business is viewed. It’s a great way to shape the audience’s perspective towards you.
The Right Format for Press Release
- Headline -As the term suggests, “Headline” is the title of the news release. It should be clear and concise. It should grab the reader’s attention.
- Location -Where you are and where the news is taking place.
- Strong Lead -This is where you explain your newsworthy study/content in one sentence.
- Body -The larger section of the press release is taken by the body. It should cover the entire content in a concise manner. It’s a very good idea to add in quotes throughout the body to back up your arguments.
- Boilerplate -A few words describing your company to the audience.
- Press Contact - Name and contact details.
5 Unwritten Rules of Press Release
We talked about the benefits of press releases. Now, let’s talk about the rules of drafting the right press release.
Rule 1: Make your headline irresistible
Your headline should stand out!
It’s the first thing anyone would ever read not because it’s a headline but it’s bold and bigger than the rest. It’s equally relevant in video press releases where the reader often clicks the thumbnail only after finding an enticing title.
- Use action verbs, clear, understandable language, and keep your headline simple and short.
- Keep your title to one line to clearly focus people's attention on your topline message.
- And, make it interesting. A journalist may get hundreds of press releases from different sources. They will only choose the one that ‘clicks’. And in this case, the headline is the part that clicks.
Rule 2: Convey the news value to the press
The first paragraph of your press release should cover the Who, What, Why, Where, and How. This will help to convey the news value of your press release.
- For reporters, analysts, influencers, or followers to be inclined to share your announcement, you have to tell them upfront why they should care.
- Readers often go through the first few lines and then drop the news piece if it seems less exciting. They just need the facts, so you should give it to them in an exciting and concise manner.
- There shouldn't be any new, crucial information covered after this section that the reader could potentially miss. A good way to ensure this is by using the reverse pyramid formula i.e. keep the most important part to the top and the least important to the bottom.
Rule 3: Offer a tempting quote
A quote offers authenticity to the news piece. It’s the vital section of the press release after the headline and lead.
- Ideally, quotes will be from key stakeholders in your company including your executive team, project leads, or those directly impacted by your announcement.
- Quoting key figures, authorities, or sources adds value to your news piece. The chosen quote should shape your narrative and emphasize the core of the news.
Rule 4: Provide valuable background information on the subject
What is a news piece without a valuable background? Background often forms the context and volume of the news piece.
- Offer details here that strengthen your narratives, like creative or something noteworthy. It can be about the great length of investigation you had to go through, the many numbers of people you had to interview, or the life-threatening situations you had to face to get this news.
- Another good way to add value to your press release is by using ‘newsjacking’ a process of relating your press release to something contemporary or trending topic.
Rule 5: Summarize the "who" and the "what" in a boilerplate
Boilerplate is a term that has been used since the days of newspaper publishing. It’s simply a text that can be reused in new contexts or applications without significant changes to the original.
In the case of the press release, you should describe what you or your company does. Include a link to your company's homepage early on, and make your boilerplate succinct and straightforward. If you cite data, include a reference link for the data source, and make sure every name in the release has an associated title and company as well.
Here is detail infographics containing the detail information about the press release articles.
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