Press releases are the easiest ways for a company to engage journalists and media outlets to publish their news stories. This content format is designed to share newsworthy information of something that a company has done with the press and other media outlets. A press release and an email pitch should serve as a cover letter that summarizes the release content and has information about the story being pitched to the journalist.
In this article, we will look at:
1) Why it is essential to send a press release
2) How to write a press release
3) Things to remember when writing a press release
3) How to distribute a press release
Why it is essential to send a press release
Due to the realization of the importance of digital PR and online marketing, press releases and their release platforms have changed over the years. However, what hasn’t seemed to change or go away is the importance a press release has for a company when trying to get information out there about its business and brand. There is still relevance to pressing releases in PR because they help establish media relationships, gain credibility, gain organic SEO traffic and customer engagement, and create a portfolio.
1) Establish media relationships
When a company sends out press releases or other newsworthy content, it can create lasting relationships with the media. A well-written, relevant press release shows that a company is proactive, and it has done its research about the journalist or media outlet.
Journalists and other media professionals may not have much time to go through every press release they receive. For this reason, a company presents an informative yet concise press release that will get the media attention they need and want.
An email pitch should accompany a press release to provide more information to pique a journalist’s interest. It should give the full story covering who, what, where, when, and why and include why its news is important. Having a precise, concise press release helps companies establish a trusted relationship with journalists and position themselves as thought leaders.
2) Gain credibility
Many media outlets and consumers look to press releases as a trusted source of data and information. When a company consistently distributes press releases that are newsworthy and relevant to their industry, it allows them to build credibility with journalists as well as with existing and potential customers. For startups and small businesses, that is very important when trying to get the initial word about their company out there.
Creating organic content can help a company control its brand voice, message, and perception. Through this, companies can publicize important company information and have a crisis management plan if there is one that needs to be implemented. By clearly stating facts, companies can use their press release and other relevant content to reestablish a positive brand image and public perception.
Having organic content is very important. Nevertheless, sometimes companies may be able to compile all the necessary information but cannot go the extra step to create compelling content to get media professionals’ attention. That is where PR agencies like Pressfarm come in. Their expert writers and PR professionals work with companies to create compelling press releases and other organic content distributed to journalists and media outlets to gain media coverage. They also provide companies with access to their extensive PR database of over 1 million journalists so that they can filter through and find the best media match for their startup.
3) Gain SEO traffic
Besides providing journalists and media outlets with information for their next story, press releases also utilize SEO practices that allow search engines to find, match, index, and rank them. Because of the importance of digital PR, search algorithms typically look for well-written content that incorporates keywords and links to achieve organic traffic. By establishing proper keyword usage, quality links, and consistent distribution, a company can begin developing its authority in its industry and establishing itself as a thought leader.
4) Encourage customer engagement
During traditional PR and marketing, press releases can only reach journalists and other media professionals. Nowadays, with the rise of social media and online news distributors, companies can now post their press releases onto their owned media so that consumers and their target audience have direct access to them.
Companies can now use their press releases to rank high in search engines, capture current and potential customers’ attention, and lead to direct engagement and sharing on social channels. They can directly promote through multimedia because customers and the media are now more likely to share media through social platforms than just text-only. Customers now tend to look to photos, videos, and infographics rather than text when trying to obtain information.
5) Build a content portfolio
As most companies and PR professionals are aware, content is significant for gaining information about a business and brand. By creating relevant, timely content that media professionals and potential customers can continuously engage with, companies can rank high in search engines and gain higher visibility rates. Press releases are just another type of content; they can be combined with other fact-based content like a blog post, an infographic, a social post, an ebook, or a whitepaper to create a great content portfolio for a company.
How to write a press release
1) Find ways to be newsworthy
To stand out from the crowd of press releases that a journalist or media outlet receives daily, companies need to create one that is appealing to the media professional’s eye. They can do this in the form of providing exclusive data or research, newsjacking, and having an emotional connection with the reader.
Firstly, journalists love it when they are made to feel special. When a company sends a press release that provides exclusive data or research to their target journalist, they are more likely to receive media attention than those who send news that prove not to be newsworthy. Secondly, companies can use newsjacking as one of their content marketing processes. Newsjacking is a way for companies to inject their brand into a current news story to make it more relevant to the topic. Finally, companies should also provide a story with an emotional connection because people tend to move towards a brand that they are emotionally invested in and one whose values they resonate with.
2) Write the press release headline
When it comes to press release headlines, it is all about the first impression. The goal is for the company to draw in its target audience with just a few words and hopefully retain their attention. To this end, the press release headline should impress the reader and clearly and give a clear idea of the contents of the press release.
3) Craft the lead
After the headline has been created, companies need to know how to effectively present their information so that the targeted reader knows precisely what they need to learn from the press release without any long-winded story that could lose their attention.
Companies can use the Inverted Pyramid technique to present all the necessary information at the beginning of the press release. The first paragraph should be short and concise while also answering the crucial questions of who, what, when, where, and why. It should discuss who is involved in the news story, what the story is about, when did/will the story or event happen(ed), where the story or event took place, and why the information is relevant to the journalist or media outlet. The Inverted Pyramid is useful for web writing because it gives writers a way to write content so that audiences with a low attention span can appreciate and understand.
4) Write the body paragraphs
While the lead paragraph should have the most critical information, the body paragraphs should have information that backs up the statements. They should have additional facts or details about the report revealed in order of importance. This is where a company should detail any arguments, controversies, issues, background, or evidence that they might have.
Companies can also include quotes as a way to boost credibility and personality in the press release. Finally, a press release should contain a boilerplate. This is a standardized summary of what the company does and its mission. It serves as a summary of essential facts, business aspirations, and marketing goals that a company wants to put out there to the world.
5) Media contact details
Press releases should have a clear call-to-action at the end, and they should discuss what the next steps should be. Additionally, any press release should include a company’s contact information so that they can proceed to the next steps with the journalist or media outlet. The company’s contact information should include the email address and phone number of the person that is in charge of this story. This way, the journalist or media outlet can contact the company more efficiently.
Things to remember when writing a press release
1) Use professional language
Whether or not a company already has an established relationship with a journalist or media outlet, they still need to have an air of professionalism when contacting them. They should use professional language and correct grammar in their press release because it increases their story’s credibility. It shows that a company is a thought leader in the industry. It is more likely that a journalist or media outlet will look to them if they need any further information.
2) Not too promotional
It’s true that a press release is meant for companies to get the word out there about their business and brand. It also needs to pique the interest of the media professional who is going to write about it. An effective press release has all the necessary information about a company minus its promotional aspect because generally, journalists are not looking to get pitched to; they are much more interested in reading a story.
3) Being accurate and informative
Companies need to ensure that the information that is being presented about them is accurate and informative. Journalists are not just expert writers. They are also expert researchers. Suppose companies were to send misleading or inaccurate information deliberately. In that case, there is a high chance that the journalist or media outlet will find out about it. This kind of discovery could kill the perceived credibility of a brand.
4) Do not misuse links
Links and backlinks are essential for a company’s digital PR. However, it placing meaningless links will look like a form of manipulation to a journalist, media outlet, or target audience if done incorrectly.
5) Not guaranteed
A press release is an integral part of any company’s PR strategy. However, it is essential to remember that it is not a guaranteed marketing tool. Having one does not mean that media will jump onto every piece of content a company writes. However, it gives them a higher chance of getting media attention. This does not mean they will not gain media coverage. It just means that they may need to go back to the writing process and create something that will pique the interest of the journalist or media outlet.
How to distribute a press release
How a company distributes its press release is just as important as writing one. There is no point in having a great story if no one is going to hear about it. There are many different processes by which companies can distribute their press releases. Other relevant content depends on the size of their business and the budget they are willing to spend on PR.
1) Work with a PR agency
PR agencies are very used to working with journalists and influencers; they have the experience and contacts that companies need to distribute their stories efficiently. Most of the time, agencies will offer tips on the right approach companies need to adopt when contacting media professionals. They also provide writing services that can increase a company’s chance of coverage.
2) Press release distribution services
Online PR platforms are another way companies can send out their press release to journalists, bloggers, and influencers. At the moment, many PR agencies also have databases that enable companies to select industry sectors. Companies can also hone in on a specific geographic area where they want to distribute their press release. If companies plan to use online PR platforms or PR agencies, they should do their best to research and choose the ones that best fit their business.
3) Distribute on social media
With the emergence of digital PR, social media has become an essential part of any business’s PR strategy. It has become the easiest way to communicate with target audiences, build their brand profile, and share their content.
Companies can post their press releases on their owned media to give readers easier access and increase their chance of getting media attention by regularly liking, sharing, and commenting to build a relationship.
4) Build a PR distribution list
Of course, a company is fully capable of distributing their press release and doing their PR. The only thing that they need to remember is that it does take a lot of human resources and time commitment to distribute effectively to the right media outlets.
Finding a story to tell is just one step; distributing it through a press release and the right people is the next. Companies need to take the appropriate amount of time and energy to find contact details, compile them, and start communicating.
5) Use influencer marketing
With the emergence of so many social media platforms, influencers and bloggers provide an alternative avenue for companies to distribute their content. By using influencer marketing, companies can either send their press releases out to those individuals or can directly send their products or services to the influencers. This is all in the hopes that they will review them and tell their plethora of followers about it.
Whatever distribution method a company plans to use to get their press release out one thing is for sure: a press release is absolutely crucial. However, with so many email pitches and press releases going out daily, one can easily slip through the cracks. This isn’t always the fault of the company distributing the content. However, it doesn’t hurt to revert and see whether they can find other story angles or exciting information that will entice the reader. With in-house PR efforts or with the help of external PR experts, companies will have a higher chance of gaining media coverage.