In a time when social media dominates the marketing conversation for many brands, press releases are still just as effective as ever—both for large companies and start-ups. In fact, a strong press release strategy can work hand-in-hand with your social media marketing to drive visibility.
Here are a few reasons why you should be incorporating press releases into your communication strategy—and what goes into crafting a good one.
Press releases help you manage the story. When reporters find and break the story about you, they control the spin that gets put on it. The media creates your first impression. However, when you distribute a press release, you control how people hear about it first. The press release lets you highlight the value of your product, share the reason you introduced a new service or hired a new executive, and explain major company changes ahead of the press coverage.
Press releases boost your visibility. When you syndicate your press release to news outlets, it gets distributed far and wide—attracting the attention of journalists and your target audience. A good press release can result in added media coverage, links back to your website, increased online conversation, and ultimately, more business.
Press releases can supercharge your social. You don’t justhave to send your press release to online publications. You can publish it yourself—on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. Press release content is highly popular on social platforms, and these platforms are always hungry for content. If you’ve got something newsworthy to share, chances are your social media audience will pay attention.
Press releases increase credibility. In a time when digital media dominates the marketing conversation, press releases can seem a little old-school. But that’s part of their power. They still carry a certain weight that a tweet or blog post just doesn’t—especially if it gets picked up by other publications. If you’re just starting out, the credibility boost of having a well-known publication pick up your story can be invaluable.
How to Write a Good Press Release
Know the format. Press releases are written to appeal to a journalistic audience—and they lead with facts. There’s a very simple structure to follow—just answer these five questions:
Who? What? Why? When? Where?
If you answer these questions in order, you’ll have a press release that cuts to the chase.
Keep it brief. Press releases should be short. Avoid overloading the reader with information—just answer those five simple questions, and end when you’re done. If there’s more information, direct people to your website—and hopefully you’ll generate some traffic.
Don’t sell. Whatever you do, avoid trying to sell or persuade in your press release. Before you even sit down to write, ask yourself – what about your topic is newsworthy? Your press release may not get picked up if editors see it as a thinly-disguised sales document.
Know your audience. If you’re in sales and marketing or run a business, chances are you know who your audience is. But that’s not the audience you’re writing for when you write a press release. You’re writing to the media. They want to know the hook; and they want to get the crucial facts straight out of the gate.
A good press release delivers the must-have facts immediately, and has a newsworthy topic with an interesting hook. Never sell your readers, and always keep in mind who your audience is. These are the key ingredients to writing hard-hitting press releases that get picked up by the media.