If your budget won’t allow you to hire a public relations firm, then the task can seem even more daunting. What media outlets should you target? What message about your business should you communicate? Should you use the Wire to distribute your press release or just a simple Internet distribution website?
Not to worry! Erica Schuckies of Business Wire provided us with a list of tips below on how to create and use press releases to promote your business to the media and public.
Newsworthy Topic: Ask yourself what is happening at your business that may be newsworthy? Avoid marketing slogans and sales pitches in favor of substantive messages tied to trending news or events that you have planned.
Headline: Arguably the most important part of your press release. This allows you to set the hook and get journalists to read the release.
Timely: If there is a recent event or happening at the company, tell the story as it relates to the present time. What is happening in your industry that your business is contributing to? What relevant expertise can you communicate that will make your business part of the bigger picture. Timeliness can make the difference between beings ignored or picked up and written about.
Readability: Write your press release in an inverted pyramid style; the most important information should be in the first paragraph to help journalists determine if your release is worth a closer read.
Links: Don’t forget to link back to your website or landing page. The average link-to-text ratio in a press release should be about 1 link for every 100-125 words. Make sure to include both anchor text and the full link text, in case the anchor text link does not work.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): To achieve a stronger search engine rankings, chose one to two keyword phrases that you want to center your press release around. Think of important words or phrases that will allow you to be ranked in search engines. Place those keywords in your headline and throughout the body of the press release. Be careful not to stuff your press release; the key is to give it finesse and a natural flow but still remain relevant in search engines. As Erica would say “You want to walk the fine line between writing for the real person and writing for the search engine robots.”
Concise: The longer the press release, the less likely someone will read through it. One option is to create bullet points, which are great ways to get information across in a visually appealing way.
Multimedia: If possible, make it high resolution. This can include logos, photos, videos, graphics, white papers, or sound bites.
Target the Media: It’s important to know the type of reporter you are sending your piece to so it is relevant to them. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and annoying them in the process.
Availability: Journalists are often on a very strict schedule. If one responds back to you, then be prepared to drop what you are doing to accommodate their schedule. Otherwise, you can kiss your opportunity goodbye.
A huge “thanks” goes out to Erica at Business Wire for helping us with this list! If you have any suggestions or want to weigh in on it with your own personal experience, then please feel free to leave a comment below. Or if you want to email Erica about how to get more out of your next press release, then feel free to drop her a line at Erica.Schuckies(@)BusinessWire.com.