While there’s been some debate in recent years over the value of the traditional press release, I believe they’re still a valuable way to get newsworthy information in front of reporters—who will then get your news in front of potential customers.
There’s no shortage of information on writing a press release. You could very easily find out how to write a headline, ideal release lengths, and the importance of including your contact information. So I won’t rehash the basic template of a press release here.
What I will share is a few of my favorite tips on writing a good one; one that reporters and customers alike will actually read.
Your new product launch or marketing campaign or internal hire is important. I don’t doubt that. It’s a significant move for your company, and its completely understandable that you’d want to shout every update from the rooftops.
But here’s the thing you have to consider: Does anyone else actually care?
Don’t get me wrong: Not everyone needs to care. As with anything, there should be a very specific group of reporters and customers you’re targeting with your news—but you need to be clear on who that group is and objectively consider whether or not this “news” is important to them.
If it’s not, perhaps save the news for an internal memo and put the important external news in a carefully-crafted press release.
While your potential customers may see and read your press releases, at the end of the day, this document isn’t for them—you can (and should) always share customer-focused updates on your blog, in your email newsletter, and on social media!
Your ultimate press release-writing goal should be to make a reporter’s job easier; to give them the story on a silver platter and make yourself available for any follow-up, should they need it.
So, if a reporter were to pick up your press release, would they have all of the information they need to write a compelling story? Try to anticipate any and all questions they might have and answer them clearly in your release.
“Innovative”, “one-of-a-kind”, and “best in class”—how many times have you used these words to describe your company or its products? (Be honest.)
Is your company “a true industry-leader”? Is it really? If it is, great! Good for you. But even if your latest product is truly “revolutionary”, these buzzwords are tired and overused. They’ve lost their descriptive power, because they’ve been used to describe everything and everybody, revolutionary or not.
Instead of trotting out overused adjectives, be very clear about your product and its benefits (specific to the group of people it helps), by avoiding jargon and using common terms.
Include a “Quote-worthy” Quote
Most companies know to share a quote from the CEO or VP of Marketing or the latest hire in their press release—but how many of those quotes are actually “quote-worthy”?
Make your press release unique by including valuable insight that’s specific to the person giving it—why did your CEO sign-off on this latest product? How did the VP of Marketing work with his team to come up with your latest digital ad campaign? What did your new hire see in your company that stood out; that made them want to join your team?
Be specific and interesting (not just informative), and give reporters a quote they’ll want to pull.
Keep It Short & Get to the Point
Much like your own kids, nobody loves your growing company—and it’s many updates—quite like you do! While other people may be interested in what you have to share, they—reporters and editors, especially—just want to know what’s important and why they should care.
So, keep your release short and to the point, and you’ll be so much more likely to garner the interest your company deserves!
Which of these tips will you incorporate into your next press release? Let me know in the comments!