Stop the presses! Or should you?
We discuss how to create and send a press release and when it’s appropriate to take newsworthy matters into your own hands:
Check your story.
One of the most important factors to creating a press release is to decide if you need one at all. Is your story worthy of being in a publication? Or is your story better suited for social media or blogging?
Employee promotions (especially to leadership positions), speaking engagements, and awards are often press release-worthy. It could be a once-in-a-company-lifetime occurrence, so write the news while it’s fresh.
Service or product promotions, insignificant company anniversaries (any year that’s not a decade, multiple of five, or the first or last), and conference attendances don’t need a press release. Use these smaller opportunities to fill out your social media marketing or content marketing campaigns.
For more information about which stories are worth a press release, check out Christina’s advice in Monday Marketing Q&A:
Create a neck-breaking opener.
Never sensationalize or create false information in order to make a press release newsworthy. However, put a lot of effort into creating an eye-popping headline and introductory paragraph. This tip doesn’t go for only releases, either.
Journalists and editors receive hundreds of emails with “news” from public relations firms, marketing agencies, and freelancers. Your email subject line and preview text are also mission critical when sending press releases.
In fact, 35 percent of people open an email based on its subject line. That open rate increases by about 22 percent if you include personalization.
Think about that. Including a person’s name and/or company in the subject line increases the chance of having your press release looked at to more than 55 percent.
The biggest tip for public relations is to remember that people respond to people. You’re trying to reach the public, so tell your story through the people of the public.
Include approved quotes from important people involved in the story to make it more real and factual. Notice the aspects of that sentence:
- Get all quotes approved by mentioned parties.
- Quote only relevant parties.
- Include only relevant quotes that make the story better.
- Don’t fabricate quotes. Ever. (Ask Stephen Glass.)
Use your marketing tools.
There’s a reason we’re called Illumine8 Marketing & PR. The two go hand-in-hand. Inbound marketing is a great tool to distribute, time, and leverage A/B testing with press releases. It’s also an excellent way to create and maintain relationships with the media and get a pulse on your community’s interests.
Long gone are the days of, “Throw my company a bone, journalist!”
For more information on the beautiful hybrid of inbound marketing and public relations, check out our recap on Hubspotter Iliyana Stareva’s Loveology Formula from INBOUND 2016. If all else fails...
Be your own influencer.
In the world of 100,000-follower Instagram influencers and viral Twitter fame, everyone is a social media influencer. While you might not have quite that many listeners, you have access to those that matter, which makes you an “accidental journalist”.
This term was coined to describe those who publish their own news via their preferred method of communication. “Accidental journalists” became a speedy, open source, which eliminated the need for publications entirely. They went straight to their audience.
Hulu was a frontrunner in this trend. They didn’t kill press releases but published news on their blog and social media channels. This meant they were in charge and directly interacting with their valuable audience.
A lot of companies similarly include a “press room” on their website where journalists can click if they’re interested, which saves time and effort.
In short, if you’re tired of sending release after release into the email abyss of publications, reach out on your own social media or publish a blog. It takes seconds to control the narrative and leverage your existing audience for a near-immediate response to your news.