Updated: Nov 27, 2019
News today is instant. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8AM on a Monday morning or 12PM on a Saturday night. There’s a story. But the way we consume news today is different. The age of having a mass audience congregate all in one place are gone. Go back 20 years and whose Dad wasn’t sitting at the dining table on a Sunday morning, reading his paper, coffee in hand?
Today, people seek out news from many different platforms and consume the content in completely unique ways. You can still watch what’s happening in the world from your living room TV. But you can bet that whatever they are screening was already shared on Twitter or Facebook. Old newspaper companies haven’t ignored the power of digital and have made moves online, while newer news companies have only ever known digital. The easy days of audiences all collating in one place may be gone, but you know what we say? Good. There’s more opportunity now for businesses both small and large than there ever was. You just need to know how to find it.
Journalists need you. They need new stories all time to fill that 24/7 news cycle. Can you imagine trying to find all those stories on your own? It’s a hard pass from us. You’re saving them time. If you do it right.
So, the question remains; how do you write a press release that doesn’t go straight to the trash inbox?
Being square isn’t bad
If someone calls you a square, it’s never considered a good thing. They’re saying you’re boring, rigid, conventional. Ugh. Can you not? Here’s why we support squares.
Your press release needs fit within the parameters of the company who will be publishing it
Ask yourself. Does this story fit their platform? Are they a publisher who writes feel good stories or do they only publish serious, hard news? Is your press release and story angle going to make sense on their website or social media? Or are there followers going to click away wondering why the business news publication they enjoy so much is suddenly posting content they find irrelevant?
What’s your angle?
What’s the value in your news. And why is it worth it for them to publish it. Your press release needs to have an angle that’s going to draw their audience in. Depending on who you approach to publish your news, you may have to highlight a different angle. This doesn’t mean changing the underlying facts. It just means making the story sellable to different audiences.
Get your stalk on. We mean that in the most non-threatening, and professional way. You want to send your press release to the right person. You don’t want to, if it can be avoided, send your press release to the generic company email. The one which is easy to find, but you know that one is for the people who haven’t done their homework. You are not one of those people.
Go on the company’s LinkedIn. Find them on Twitter. Find their employees and see what they are already writing about. Most journalists write about one particular topic. It could be politics or sport or a weekly column. Dig deeper, find out how they write. Style your press release so it sounds like it could have come from them. The less work they have to do the easier it is for them to get your article straight out into the world.
What’s your subject line really saying?
Your subject line needs to stand out among the rest. “If you don’t open this you hate dogs.” No, we’re just kidding, don’t write that. Or maybe do. Be humorous, be witty, be factual. Be anything but generic in your subject line.
Remember to KISS
Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. This is a press release. Don’t embellish, don’t add your own opinion. Use hard facts to tell a story people want to read. Put the most important information at the top (who, what, where, when and why) and a few short, sharp paragraphs following. Keep it to a page. They read a lot of these.
Support, support, support
If you’re asking someone for a favour. You make it as easy as you possibly can for them to do you that favour. Basically, if a press release was a cake you wanted delivered by an acquaintance, you want to make it as attractive as you can for them to do just that. You give them everything they need. A map, some petrol money, the candles. Or if we’re talking press releases, some solid quotes with who said them and some fire imagery.
Call me, maybe?
Yes, that is a Carley Ray Jephson reference and no we aren’t going to apologise for it. You’ve written a kick-ass press release and now it’s time to add your contact details for when they decide to follow up on the story.
Double check, triple check
Read it. Read it again. Read it to your cat. Get your friend to read it to see if it makes sense to them. You only have one shot (wow we are on fire with these music references).
Hit that send button. You’ve got this. But don’t limit yourself to one publication. Approach a few carefully selected ones. We’re not saying everyone is going to say yes, but you’ve got a better chance of your story being in the public eye if you don’t limit yourself.
Our final piece of advice? Build relationships with people. Build trust. And if you don’t have time for that, let the kick-ass team at Crowned PR do it for you.