Public relations has moved on from what it used to be. It’s grown and evolved and can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Similar to Article Marketing is press release writing and submission – press release submission can however be paid or free, depending on the nature of results you are willing to get. If you are working for yourself or your business is just a start-up, you can safely go to the free route and enjoy the benefits of this type of submission. If you are a big brand you can use the paid service to maximize your spread of press release, but I do not recommend the paid service for novice professionals.


The following are all excellent reasons why you’d send a press release:

    * a new product or service to announce
    * a case study about how you helped a client or made a client money
    * a new employee has been hired with extensive experience in your industry
    * your company has won an award or been recognized in your industry as a thought leader
    * your company, product, or service was reviewed favorably
    * it’s a communication requirement for investor relations (quarterly financial reports for public companies)


What Should You Include In Your Press Release?

Press releases are written to a standard newspaper format, which yours must follow to be taken seriously:
1. Title: as with the newspaper headline, you must grab the reader's attention here.
2. Summary: 2 or 3 sentences that stress the importance of the release.
3. Body: 2 paragraphs giving the details, with individuals quoted.
4. Company information: what the company is and does, location, when founded, etc.
5. Contact information: phone, fax, email, company URL, and name(s) of personnel who can be contacted for more information.

Editors want news, not company hype, and you'll be more successful if your piece is topical and includes leads to matters of current concern. Keep an eye on what's happening in your sector of the market, therefore, and examine other press releases for structure and ideas. Finally, make sure the piece is proofed and the facts checked: it's not the bureau's job to do this.

Your press release should engage readers, so be sure to include supporting media whenever appropriate to help your customers understand your content. Think of a popular news source like CNN—as well as text, their articles feature photos, videos, and quotes to keep the reader’s interest and help tell the story. When writing your press release, try to include any information that will help support your message, such as:

    * quotes from the president, owner, or other key personnel and industry experts
    * customer testimonials
    * product reviews
    * awards and other examples of industry recognition
    * offers or calls to action

Use the benefits of hypertext to your advantage, and include as much supporting material as possible:

    * Hyperlinks: Link key phrases and calls to action to appropriate landing pages on your web site. This will allow your customers to place an order or sign up if interested, and it’s also excellent for search engines. These links to your web site will appear everywhere the press release is published, which, if you use a newswire, could be a lot of places. Those incoming links will help you rank on search engines for the phrases that are hyperlinked.
    * Photos: Adding photos can make an ordinary press release stand out from the crowd. If you’re advertising a new product, make sure to include a product photograph. If you hired a new employee, make sure their photograph is included.
    * Audio: Consider adding audio clips of interviews, podcast excerpts, or quotes featured in the press release.
    * Video: When appropriate, videos can add an extra dimension never before available in press releases. Videos of product reviews, demonstrations, or interviews are excellent additions to a press release.
    * Social Media Facilities: Adding buttons to post the item to popular social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, and Technorati can help publicize the press release. As people use social media to bookmark or share your release, it will be exposed to their friends, helping the news spread even further.

How Long Should My Press Release Be?

Your press release should be relatively short at 400–500 words. If it’s much longer, you risk losing your audience’s attention. Any shorter, and your story might be too short to cover all the important details. Also, remember that journalists and bloggers searching for information to write about want enough information to decide whether to cover the story, without being required to read a novel.

In the end, though, there are only really two elements that define a good press release: it needs to be brief, and it needs to contain real news. The definition of “real news” is that it be timely and contain some facts and figures about the news you are announcing. You get bonus points for including links to background information on the web. You also get bonus points for making sure the people who are involved in announcing the news — the PR person and the key spokespeople — are available to comment and follow-up with interested parties immediately after the release is issued.
 


Comments

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