7 Tips for Writing a Press Release

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You should be writing a press release right now.

Over the weekend, one of our clients hosted an open house at their sales facility, and wanted help getting the word out. This wasn’t a high-budget event, so there weren’t going to be billboards or television spots to promote it. What the client needed was a cost-effective method of spreading the word to as many existing and potential customers as possible.

The solution was clear: Press Release.

A well-crafted press release can put your name in the media, introduce you to key players in your industry’s trade publications and – best of all – act as free advertising.

Our content developer, Elizabeth Buchinger, researched media outlets within 100 miles of our client’s sales facility, and compiled a contact list of nearly 50 media professionals to target. She then worked with the client to hone the message they wanted to convey both about the event and the company.

She collected images, wrote the press release and distributed the material to newspapers, television, magazine and radio outlets.

The event was well attended, and the organizer definitely got the sense that people had heard about the event in a variety of media.

But the best return was that, the day before the event, an area TV reporter and camera crew came to the business and spent two hours interviewing the owners.

You literally cannot buy that kind of coverage because it’s just not for sale.

Here are seven tips to ensure that your next press release brings results:

Target your audience. A scattershot press release is a waste of your time and a nuisance to the person who receives it. Take the time to create a media list of outlets where your audience spends time. A company that is opening a lakeside resort might target newspapers, travel magazines, and television programs. A teen center, on the other hand, would do best to form relationships with popular radio stations, alternative weekly papers and social networking web sites.

Make it newsworthy. Think of your press release as a pitch for a magazine cover story. Find an angle that makes your organization so newsworthy that the editor who receives your release will be inspired to give you great coverage and will thank you for sending it.

Write it well and keep it brief. Good writing will spark interest, but that doesn’t mean sending a novel. Editors and the like receive hundreds of press releases a week. If you can’t convey your story and give a call to action within five short paragraphs, you’ll lose their interest, and you won’t get coverage.

Include a photo or other image. Good quality images grab attention and enrich your story. Make sure your images are of print quality, and include caption information.

Follow up by phone or email. PR isn’t about one-shot media coverage; it’s about building long-term relationships that will bring repeated exposure for your organization and build your public profile. Get to know the people at the outlets where coverage is most natural, and learn how you can make their jobs easier. Maybe they’re looking for expert sources in your field. Maybe they want a guest columnist. It can be time consuming, but in the end it pays off.

If you have any questions about designing a PR plan or you would like to talk about PR solutions, you can contact our content developer, Elizabeth, at etb@grafiqa.com or 607.433.8837 x206.

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