Entrepreneurs often don't know how to "get into the media". In this post, we look more closely at what a press release should actually like.
What is this press release people talk about? This term is viewed quite critically by journalists. Why? Because journalists often say they are free of influences. The press release, however, is a letter that says: "Look journalists, this is my great new shiny product!", therefore a press release is something that journalists try to avoid. In addition, you should know that (depending on the size of the news agency) journalists' mailboxes are usually filled with different press releases, every day.
7 Do's and Don'ts for a successful press release
1. Write a title with a "catchy tune"
The first thing to read is the title, also similar to email marketing. Try to avoid using such phrases like "press release", "best product" or something like "our product solves all your problems". It's not a good idea to advertise your products too much, think about your own positioning. Add some of your customer-experiences and tell your story. Talk about the problem your product or service solves. Journalists like stories, and this brings us to hint number two:
2. Write an interesting story!
Avoid excessive facts, endless numbers or news, for example, "We were founded in the year ...". Stories that are based only on facts, numbers and other distracting texts find their way into journalists trashcan. Journalists like stories that are emotional, something that people can relate to. Ask yourself: "What would I like to read about some other company?"
How should a good story look like? It depends entirely on your situation. Create a contrast. Example: "I was already setting up my first company as a student, and it bankrupted quite quickly. Today I have learned form my mistakes and run a successful business X!". Contrast creates a number of different facets, illustrating the problems you've faced and how you have learned from them.
3. Write like a journalist
Choosing a suitable writing style is something that many entrepreneurs struggle with. Often, sentences are copied from laws and insurance policies. Try to avoid legal texts! Write comprehensively, using short sentences. Try to write using an active and positive tone, smiling at the same time. It sounds a little weird, but trust me! It helps! Don't expect journalists to correct your article. Why? Journalists are often overworked, underpaid and allowed to publish a certain amount of articles per day. So there is not much time left to research the facts and make corrections. The more you write with a "journalist style", the more you help the journalist to publish your article.
4. No spelling mistakes!
Correct your own spelling mistakes. You can let your team members to check it for you. If you work alone, ask feedback from other freelancers, friends or from Facebook groups.
5. The red thread
"We were also at this meeting, and we met with this investor, etc., etc., etc ..." - yawn! The press release should be structured so it will be easy to read, for everyone. Of course, the structure also depends on the story of your business. For example, if you want to inform about a certain event, start with the points that relate to this event. Think about these questions: When? Where? Why? How? Who?
Your press release should contain 3-4 summaries about your story. Give the journalist a brief summary of what is informative and emotionally important. For example, "Our company influences groups of people...", "We are offering a solution for ... problems" and "This article is worth to be published, because ...". Why do you need this summary? Point 7 already explains this in more detail.
6. Make your story relevat for the journalist!
Although, by the end of the day it's the journalist who is the one publishes your story, he should not feel that he has written it. The reason is simple: The journalist has the right to write neutral articles, but not to advertise your business. So write a great story without exessive advertising.
But which journalist you should contact? Select a media that has a style that's right for you. Example: You have made it clear that your service will solve the problems of digital service providers. Write your own story in industrial or commercial magazines.
A press release does not always have to be in a public newspaper, it can also be published in magazines. For example, is your product something that is also available in your hometown? Write or call your hometown's news agency and emphasize that you have always wanted to support your hometown.
7. Press release as a PDF file or not?
What is more pleasant and easier to read? What came first, egg or the chicken? I recommend to send a press release as a PDF file. Why? Because you can not always format your text in an appealing way in email and people are mostly affected by visual aspects. However, you still need to write an email. Check tip nr 5! Write summaries and add them to your email and also ask the journalist something like this: "Made you courious? More information can be found from the appendix ".
Summarizing: First, determine which media is right for you. Next, write your own story and make it fun to read for the journalist. And finally, call directly (only small editors) or just go to meet some journalists.
Do not forget to add
- Your contact details: phone number, email address, website and most important: who are you?
- Brief information about your company.
And if your press release does not get published? Try again soon and keep on going. Dealing with the press takes some time.