Over the years, many people have asked me how to write a press release. Others say that they “put out a press release” but have received less than desirable results. Using a standard template and pasting in your details does not mean you have written an effective press release. Initially, press releases or news releases were supposed to share newsworthy information with reporters so that the reporters could in turn write stories on the topics. Today, press releases not only attempt that, but also help prospective customers find you
online. Here, I share five tips on how to write a press release that reporters will use and your target customers will read.
- Timing is everything. When planning a press release, consider the needed lead time for reporters to use the information. For the media outlets, you need to get the information to reporters in plenty of time to use it. Local radio and TV stations need at least two weeks (usually a month) before an event. Major magazines work four to six months ahead of time and you can review their editorial calendars so you know what story topics they’ll be covering.
- Remember: your key words are not only important on your Web site but also in your press releases. Incorporate your key words into your title, first sentence and then throughout the press release. This helps people searching online find your company and/or products. For example, if I’m looking online for an interior designer in Houston, the search engines are more likely to point me to interior designers who have “interior designer” and “Houston” embedded in their web site and throughout their press releases. You’d be amazed at how press releases with key words can improve your ranking in Internet search results.
- Eliminate jargon and overuse of acronyms. While your employees are used to using these terms, it often confuses the prospects you seek. Additionally, the person making the purchasing decision may not understand the industry terms but holds the purse strings. Speak and write simply.
- Focus on the benefits to the customer, not on the whiz-bang features or specifications. Tell readers how your solution will save them money or help them perform better. Customers are interested in “what’s in it for me?” rather than how much time the engineers spent on development.
- Include links in your press release not just to your home page, but to specific pages that relate to the content of your announcement. Many times, our agency helps clients create project-specific web pages so that they can get very focused on their message. When a local client began inviting prospects to a software demonstration at an industry conference, we created an announcement about it and then pointed people to a web page specifically about the benefits of that software and that industry audience. This targeted approach allows people to quickly find the information that they’re seeking. No one likes to click through numerous pages in search of information. Make it easy for your prospects to find your information.
- Always include the correct contact information for both media calls as well as general questions from potential customers. Provide both a day and evening phone number for reporters to call. You need to be available whenever they are. Email addresses are also helpful.
These are six great tips on how to write a press release. For more ideas, visit http://tellyourtalellc.wordpress.com/ regularly. Megan F. Salch of Tell Your Tale is a frequent speaker on how to write press releases and marketing your business. Email Megan to learn how Tell Your Tale can help your business.