Monday, February 9, 2009

How To Make Sure Your Press Release Gets Read

PR, Public Relations and writing Press Releases is something businesses of all shapes and sizes can do to help increase their profits and promote their business. This article looks at how your press release should look to give it the best chance of success.

Do you want to promote your business for free and give you the best possible chance of getting your business, product or service in front of the eyes of your customers? If so this article looks at how your press release should be presented to the media to ensure it:

1. Gets read
2. Gets acted upon
3. Doesn’t end up in the bin

The Format to Success and in particular how your press release should actually be presented to the media will give the best possible chance of success. You therefore need to focus on:

1. The Headline – you have to remember that the purpose of the headline is to get the journalists attention and to get them to read the remainder of the press release. The content of your press release may contain fantastic newsworthy information but unless the headline is strong it may never get read.

2. The First Few Paragraphs – journalists tend to like short paragraphs that grab their attention so the last thing you want to do is follow a killer headline with a block of text that they have to trawl through to find what you’re trying to say. The first few paragraphs should therefore focus on generating an interest in what you’re saying.

3. The Middle – journalists love facts and figures as they add real credibility to a release. Once you’ve therefore got their attention with the headline and first few paragraphs you should use the middle section to include any relevant facts and figures that will back up your release.

4. A Quote – a short quote from someone with something to say about the release (it could be you) is always a good idea. A quote gives journalists the chance to put it straight in the publication should they wish to. And providing it’s an interesting (or controversial) quote it shows them that if they want to contact you you’re likely to have something interesting and newsworthy to say. On this point the quote shouldn’t be too long. Just enough to maintain their interest and if possible leave them wanting more.

5. The End – The close of a press release is one of the most important parts but so many people end weakly and therefore miss out on coverage. The close has to include a clear, bold call to action. You have to tell the journalist who they need to contact and exactly how they can get in touch with you. Using something like “If you would like any further information please do not hesitate in contacting me” will not work whereas “To arrange an interview or for further information regarding (subject of release) contact XXXX at e-mail or call XXXXXX on 0191 XXXXXXX.

Other useful information on the format of a press release:

a. NEVER SUBMIT A PRESS RELEASE IN ALL UPPER CASE LETTERS. Some people believe it works as surely upper case means it’s important. WRONG!!! It isn’t easy on the eye and therefore it won’t get read. Use mixed case.

b. Spell check – I’ve mentioned this before but errors in grammar and spelling affect your credibility and potentially risk your release not being acted upon.

c. Length – If possible get your press release on one page (two at the most). Journalists don’t have time to read war and peace. That said if your press release doesn’t have more than one or two sentences, then the chances are it isn’t newsworthy.

d. Check it again – your press release is a chance to get exposure for your business so you want to make the right impression. Therefore write it, proof read it, get someone else to check it as well, rewrite it if necessary and make sure it says exactly what you want (and much more importantly, it says something of interest).

The truth is unless the format of your press release is correct the chances are you will never get your press release published (regardless of how newsworthy it is). Get great at public relations and see how small business marketing can help increase your profits and grow your business.

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