Press release (PR) has been around for some time and yet it is common to come across individuals who ask why having a Press Release is seen as an effective way for boosting online reputation and brand identity.
The truth is, if you organise events, run a charity, operate as a professional entity or are in the business of persuading others, then having a press release is an effective tool for communicating your intention and engaging with media influencers who can make the desired changes happen.
Publishing a well written press release can open doors of opportunities for you and attract the attention of those with authority to make your issues, story or desired media relevant for listening or viewing.
What is a Press Release?
A press release is the standardised method for communicating with journalists or interested parties, by clearly telling what your story is about at a glance, and at the same time making it relevant to be a credible source of information for active engagement.
Before popularity of the Internet, portable connected devices and social media, people mostly rely on the morning papers as their news source. Now, with growing changes in technology and the speed at which social media allows information sharing, collaboration and engagement, online visitors and business customers are rapidly turning to Twitter headlines and FaceBook posts as reliable sources for daily updates, news and social feeds. This change is set to grow even further, due to rapid advancement of videos integration within social platforms. Smart devices, portable laptops and central availability of information makes social media an excellent target for press release promotion and Search Engine Optimisation.
What Does a Well Written Press Release Contain?
The most important feature about press release is its content, the subject of interest and your target audience. Like anything of value, press release must clearly tell the story and be newsworthy. Content that does not engage interest will quickly disconnect its audience. Therefore, ensure your press release introduce something new or be an extension of an already existing idea, but promote relevance and brand authority. Reporters, online communities and social media followers are activity seeking fresh ideas, concepts and news of interest, so target their needs.
How Do You Start Writing a Press Release?
Opportunities are always presenting themselves and it with a little self awareness - or awareness of your surroundings - its easy to change the game in your favour. The most important decision you must make is to quit playing the waiting game and be the change you want to see - go for it and generate your own buzz.
For successful press release, always aim to talk about what is happening now or what’s about to happen, then you will easily attract audience, influencers and followers. Subtle ideas that bring about the well deserved interests can help generate required interest for your press release. For instance, you may consider things like:
The launch of a new campaign - could be easily considered as new information to a target audience.
Planning an event - whether online or at a physical location.
Promoting a game or opinion poll could also spark interest.
Develop a PR approach that reflects inbound marketing strategy - draw audience to you, instead of pushing contents to them - which can easily achieved with social media platforms like Twitter and FaceBook. By actively deciding to make use of opportunities at your finger tips it shouldn't be long before your brand and reputation become influential. With influence comes meaningful relationships and targeted audience conversion into buying customers.
Creative Artefacts for your Press Release
Whether you are writing your press release as a solo agent or as part of a wider group, using brainstorming as the first point of call always does wonders as you explore the creative channels for your next announcement. While traditional media restricted the use of content types and structure for PR publications, online press release approach enable easy application of varying contents. Press release can now include:
New data - whether in the form of table or text
Memorable, funny or remarkable graphic
Presentation components - perhaps in the form of a shareable SlideShare or other media
Video demonstration that - in the form of a guide or visual narrative
And the list goes on...
The key thing to bear in mind is that a creative approach is more likely to make your content appealing, stick in your viewers mind and promote active engagement or visitor retention or promote a social sharing across niches and online community platforms.
Ok cut! Let's take a brief pause and introduce some humor into our online engagement - unless you want to carry on...
Hope you found that refreshing, but let us press on. Shall we? Please stop smiling, although it may be very hard not to...
Create Captivating Press Release Headlines
It is commonly said that "First Impressions Lasts" and a captivating headline does exactly that for your press release. Therefore, make your PR headline stand out by choosing words and a topic that grabs attention. Remember that although you are writing, "actions really do speak louder than words", so use strong verbs and an easily understood language. Most Importantly, apply the KISS effect to your press release headline - "keep it short and simple".
Key Principles for Engaging Press Releases
Stimulate Interest Early - Don't Play the Waiting Game
In the early stage of your press release, aim to convey the message about your story, issue or promotion clearly, don't wait until later on in the document, compel your audience to read-on, view more, click a link - or whatever else you have in mind - by captivating their interest and promoting active engagement. Basically your aim here is to tell them why they should care. Present the facts that bring out the credibility of your story and enable them to operate in their position of authority easily.
Make Use of Quotes to Sell Your PR Points
You have already seen quotes used above, like "First Impression Last" and "Actions Speak Louder Than Words". You may have similar powerful quotes from specific persons that can be used to set the scene of your press release and give it more credibility. These are powerful arsenal at your finger tips that provides the reporter, journalist, followers or other significant influencers with the confidence they need to work with your press release.
Once you've set the scene, use quotes as the means to drive those memorable points home and create the perfect picture for the niche market, customer base, or purpose for which the PR was intended. Aim to gather quotes from primary stakeholders or key influencers, remembering to keep it short and simple by only referencing the most critical spokespersons and their unique perspective.
Include Background Information
Whilst ensuring that your press release should to be helpful and concise - remember the KISS effect (Keep it Short and Simple), including additional information of relevance should strengthen the authority of your press release as a credible narrative. Useful background information could include strategic directions for moving forward, or possible implications that may limit or increase future dialogues.
Make the PR Noun Known - Name the Person or Thing
Make your release easy to reference. Use clear description to articulate crucial information so that reporters or followers don't have to guess who the subject is. Just simply name the noun - the person, place, animal or thing - that the press release is referring to and possibly, include links for easy referencing.
If your reporter can easily answer the question about "What's In It For Me?" - WIIFM - then you have more or less captured their interest and made the point. The heart of effective press release is creating highly remarkable content that promote active engagement and draws your audience closer to the subject at hand.
Closing Points for Press Release and How to Write One
Forget about old school PR methodology and focus on creating honest, really impacting content.
Keep it short and simple, remembering that first impression last.
Make use of inbound marketing principles to pull influencers, followers and reporters closer to your topics to leverage widespread use in journalism and other media channels.
Transform your marketing strategies into more personalised, approachable, and relationships oriented efforts.
Go for it and don't adopt the wait until later approach - it never comes.
Learning to write press releases and what makes a newsworthy story will help you in the long run. Once you have the PR basics under wraps, it's also worthwhile to consider how to send press releases to reporters for best results and effective business promotion. Press Release is now considered important for Strategic SEO and Digital Marketing campaigns.