Getting Publicity: Press Releases 101

Generating publicity for a business or product starts with issuing a press release. In our previous blog we discussed the differences between advertising and publicity. Today, we break down the basics on how to craft a newsworthy press release that will grab the media's attention and ideally result in multiple articles for your company.

Press releases, by design, are formulaic. There is a set layout and flow to presenting the information. This is typically known as the "Inverted Pyramid." The most important information, the 5 W's of journalism, begin every release. Additional information, sources, quotes, and supporting details should follow. The most important information must always go at the beginning.

The Headline

The headline is by far the most important component of a press release. The headline is what will grab a reporter's attention and induce them to read at least part of the announcement, if not the entire thing. Media personnel can receive as many as 1000 press releases a day. Making yours stand out in the crowd always begins with the headline.

The Body

The first paragraph of the body of the release should always answer the five W questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why? This is how most journalists begin their own articles. So writing the release in a way that feels like a news article itself, may result in editors simply running the release as a story itself with minimal editing.

It's important to remember that a press release is not the media pitch. (More on how to pitch a story to the media will come in a later blog.) Press releases are a formal announcement. It should include all the relevant data, in a concise way that makes its easy to understand the newsworthy event.

Quotes

If possible, it's always worthwhile to include a quote from management. Quotes can add personality to a release, and are a way to leave a memorable impression about the people and company making the announcement. Press release quotes should make your executives look good. Avoid cliches and use the quote as a way to add another perspective or layer to the messaging.

Boilerplate and Contact Info

Conclude each press release with the boilerplate. This is essentially the "About Us" section that highlights the history, mission, and current facts about the company. Include a call to action for media to secure interviews or answers to additional questions, as well as a dedicated person and their contact info.

Company's can thrive when they are the recipient of positive publicity. Attaining this begins with a well-written and newsworthy press release. Unfortunately, poorly written releases will also impact a business, but in a negative way. They end up ignored, or worse, reflect badly and tarnish your reputation. Take the time, or better yet hire a professional like Introne Communications, to ensure your press releases are the best reflection of your company and its news.

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Windham, NH