You have a message and you want to get it out. Sending a press release to media outlets is an effective tool ... if the outlets run it.
Why do some press releases make the cut? Why don't others see the light of day?
There are several factors at play, ranging from how it's written and length to the subject matter itself and media outlet policies.
Below are seven tips to help your press release stand out.
1. Does the subject matter?
Just because you think it's news doesn't mean everyone will. Make sure when sending the release, it really is newsworthy. Some examples many media outlets find not newsworthy: new product releases and sales. Items many news outlets tend to run: business briefs (someone getting promoted), upcoming free events, etc.
2. Don't overwrite it
There is a saying, "I wrote long because I didn't take the time to write short." Understand that many news outlets have a policy against running press releases verbatim. Part of that reason is how they're written. Avoid hyping up or hyperbolizing what you're writing about. Focus mostly on the facts.
Headline Which Grabs People’s Attention: A title that grabs people’s attention and clearly explains what the release is about.
Location: Where you are and where the news is taking place
Strong Lead: This is where you explain your newsworthy study/content in one sentence.
Body: This should be easily skimmable information provided in decreasing levels of importance. It is a very good idea to add quotes throughout the body to back up your arguments.
Boilerplate: A few words describing your company to the audience
3. Add some flair
Now this may go against the previous point about avoiding hype. You can add some flair if you do it right. Anything that is opinion or "hyped up," put in an attributed quote. And make sure you're not making it up.
4. More than a small blurb?
Many times, press releases get shortened down into briefs and blurbs on news outlets, but you're seeking a story out of it. Well then, provide a personalized story angle, and if you have it, the contact information of a person willing to be interviewed.
An example: Your company just donated a large sum of money to a non-profit. If you can, provide details not only of someone from the non-profit for an interview, but work with the non-profit to ID someone who might be willing to tell a story about how the services of that non-profit helped in a narrative, personal way.
5. Understand the process
You have a good press release, but it's important to understand the process of the news organization (and they differ). Just because you send it, does not mean they will run it. Understand they get hundreds of emails and notices a day. Understand deadlines. Don't send on Mondays. A press release should be just one tool you use to spread a message.
6. Is it really a release?
As you think of the tools to get the message out, make sure to ask yourself if it is really a press release? One of the top reasons press releases don't run is the belief the release should be an advertisement (this goes back to point No. 1). There is no harm in sending a press release. But if your goal is to get the message out, make sure you're using the right marketing tools.
7. 'Release' it to the right people
So you've put together a good press release: It's short with all the relevant points, and has just a touch of "flair." You've added a story angle. But how do you get it to the right person to consider it?
Louisiana Press Marketing can help. We have relationships with media outlets, both print and broadcast. Press releases are emailed to LPA members as well as all other reputable Louisiana media organizations that are known to us. This includes radio and television broadcasters. We can also place releases in other states thanks to our relationships with our sister press associations.
To use our press release distribution service, please send your release in the body of your email or as a Microsoft Word document to email@example.com. You can attach up to four photos with the press release.
This service distributes the press release only. We do not guarantee the media organizations will run your information. We do not offer a follow-up service to promote your service or event, but we do offer additional advertising opportunities through ad placement in any of the newspapers in Louisiana (or the nation). Please contact us to find out more about other marketing services.