How to make your press release shine
You have some news about your product or company that you want the world to know. How do you issue a press release that will get noticed and more important, get printed? Is this your first time issuing a release and you aren't sure what to put? Have you issued press releases before, but without the results you wanted?
Your press release does not depend so much on the content, or the area of business you are in. Remember that there are hundreds of editors out there combing through hundreds of thousands of press releases looking for a story. Content is what gets printed, but how you present that content is what will get your press release selected. Here are some Do's and Do Not's to consider that can make your release stand out.
1. Your Importance
Let's face facts. Most likely, your company or your product is not known to most of your target market. What does that mean? It means, unless your company is a major "mover and shaker", -- i.e. Fortune 500, traded publicly, etc. -- not many people are going to care that you've relocated, or hired a new CFO. If it's a new product, or new changes to a product that is the focus of your press release, again not many people will care. Realize and accept these two facts and act accordingly.
2. It's All About the News
A press release is for the press. The press prints news. Make your press release NEWS! You need to find the news slant for your press release. What is it about your company or product that you want the world to know? Unofficially, I'm sure you just want the word out so that people will buy your products. Officially, you need to find the news content and push that, not your product.
Here's an example:
BAD: "Product Y, Made by company X, was used to do operation A. The doctors were pleased with Product Y's performance."
GOOD: "At hospital B, a common procedure was performed in a different way by doctors F, H, and I. Instead of... Then they... At one point, Product Y was used to do... Because of this... instead of..."
The main difference between the "GOOD" and "BAD" is one release was about the product and company and the other was about the news.
3. The Title Says it All
Your title is extremely important. A lot of the time, editors only look at a list of press release titles to save time. They reject thousands of potential articles because the titles of non-news articles have non-news titles. Remember, the editors want news, so let them know your press release can deliver with a good title.
BAD: Revolutionary Product Y, Made By Company X, Performs Above Expectations
GOOD: A Common Procedure Performed Uncommonly
The "GOOD" title makes them think there is actual news in there.
4. Solid Structure in the First Paragraph
Your sentence structure sometimes stands out more than content. The very common, standard press release format that is skimmed and rejected by editors goes something like this:
"Company X, a leader in innovative W production, is proud to announce the introduction of the new and improved Product Y, the best solution for G in the industry with its M feature and L tolerances."
Avoid that sentence structure like the plague!
Begin your press release with the news. Tell the editors WHY they -- and eventually their readers – should care about what you have to say. What happened? What was unique? What is the news?
5. No Buzz Words!
Even if your product is "revolutionary", or you are an "industry leader," don't say it. Those kinds of words are trite and overused in the business world. Editors don't appreciate buzz words, and neither will their readers, even if your article is newsworthy.
Just so you know, if your press release is chosen, editors will still remove all the buzz words from the entire article. The reason? They are not going to research in depth the validity of your claims that you're "a leading innovator", etc. Most often those claims are untrue, or only applicable in a very narrow, unimpressive way that is not mentioned.
If your product is truly revolutionary, then anyone who reads the news part of your article will say, "wow, that's a revolutionary product!"
6. No Low Self-esteem for Your Company
What this means is you don't have to remind the readers that Product Y is made by Company X ("The leader in M type products!") Don't mention your company in the title, or in the first paragraph, or the first time you mention Product Y. This article isn't about the company -- and is not supposed to be obviously about the product – it's about the news.
A paragraph telling the history of how Product Y was developed and made by Company X is all you need. Resist the temptation to put in those buzz word sentences, ("Leader in this or that") even at the bottom. Now, if your press release is unofficially about your company, then simply substitute "Company X" for "Product Y" in the advice above.
You would be surprised how few potential news articles there are among all the press releases. Editors appreciate news and good writing. They will notice if they keep getting quality news from a particular source and will keep an eye out for more material. Make your press release shine and give them what they want.
Always remember: a press release is about the news!
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About the Author
Amy Linley gives practical and usable advice regarding communication and meetings at AccuConference - http://www.accuconference.com. Find out more about our conference call, web conferencing and video conferencing services from AccuConference - http://www.accuconference.com/conferencecalls.
©2006 All rights reserved
©2006 All rights reserved