The Press Release is the critical selling piece in your Press Kit. This is the first thing your reporter or producer will read. If it captures their attention you have a potential winner. If not, it gets thrown in the garbage. It is that simple, capture their undivided attention and you are half way to a winner.
A good release contains these elements
- Start the news release with: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- A Great Headline: You have only seconds to grab the attention of the reader, you need to take your best shot with the headline. This is where you need to spend 80% of your time working. Write out multiple versions of your headlines and then test them until you find your best one.
- Add the City, State/Province, Month, Day, Year: Add this underneath the headline and format to the left of the page. You want to look like the regular format.
- Great Body/Content: You have their attention now you need to really pique it. Your first two sentences should make the reader think and question what the story is about. You want them to need more information. The body gives detail but still hides some of the story in reserve. Condense the story as much as you can without losing the important points. If you have to add more detail put “MORE” at the bottom of the page to notify them there is more to the story.
- Add your Company Information: Add background information on any companies mentioned in the press release. If you quote information that is not your own, ensure you provide links to that information so it can be confirmed. All press releases will be confirmed, make this an easy job for the reporter or editor to do.
- Add your contact Information: Contact name, Company name, phone, fax, email and address both physical and website.
- Finish the News Release with: ENDS or #### you can add the number of words in the news release as well to help save time on word counts.
These are the basics of a good news release. There are others that can be added but these items make up an official looking Press Release.
Find sample news releases and copy the format
That does not mean word for word, it means the general format and look of their news release. You will see these styles of advertising in some newspapers and magazines. Advertisers use the true format to help make their ads standout for readers.
This advertising format works well in many local and regional media. It adds a level of importance to the ad. I don’t recommend using it a lot. It can be used when a new or advanced product or service is being introduced.
It’s easy to find samples as this is a very popular subject. When doing my own research I found dozens of books and websites to review. Use Google or your local public library. Your local library is still the best place to research almost every subject you can think of.
Library staff are experienced researchers and can point you in the right direction when you need information. Its free and a very underutilized resource.
Brainstorm your news story and your headlines
These two steps are the most important in the process. You need to find a great “angle” that you can turn into a great story that helps to promote your business. Take your time to do this. Make a list of your own ideas and then ask your suppliers or customers what they think is critical.
Ask your clients what they think the best part of your service or your products are. Design a quick survey that can help you narrow this down. Then figure out how to make it into a news story.
Once you have an angle, now you need a headline
As I stated before, the headline is critical, the most important part of the news release. You must capture the reader’s attention immediately and entice them to want to know more.
Make your headline jump out and grab the reader. It needs to make them want more detail about your story, in this case your business. Make a bold statement, use an important question that makes them want more detail and information.
Take your time figuring this out. Brainstorming possible headlines. Write every one down, good, bad or ugly. You can narrow it down later but for now simple write down everything that comes into your head for a week or two.
Ask for opinions from family, friends and if possible customers. Ask them for their opinion and let them know you may use it in your ads and would really appreciate their input.
Write the body or content of your news release
The next step is to write the body of your news release. You need to condense your sales pitch into a news story that demands the attention of the readers.
Create a common problem and then provide the answer using your product or service. Highlight the problem and the solution in short brief points to make it news worthy.
How can you slant your story so that the public wants to know about it? The larger the problem you can create the more people will want to know how to fix it. Your business can fix that problem so build this up and make it news worthy.
You can always hire this process out
Once again, the internet can help you with this. You can visit websites that can provide contract workers or outsourcing. Elance and Fiverr are great sites to start your search. Give these folks a look and see if you can find some that have great reviews and a good reputation in regards to writing a news release. You can also hire professionals to do the job as well but be prepared to pay a lot of money for this.
A News Release can get you thousands of dollars worth of free advertising
This is not any overstated fact. It is well proven fact. A good news release can get local, regional and national attention on prime-time TV. In some cases, the story can be carried internationally and that makes trying this a must.
Any free press you can create is worth the time spent learning how to do it. A local story has great value to your business. If you can create an angle that is interesting, you have a great chance of getting some free press.
All your free press can be used in the future to help build your credibility. You can reuse this information for years to come. Build a book to store all your press release stories in.
Free press is an easily passed around phrase. It takes work to get your lucky break. Luck tends to find those who best deserve it. Take these steps to design a great News Release and ask for your share of the Free Press available