Press releases done well will develop lasting relationships with the media… Press releases done wrongly will only bring you a bad reputation.
Here are some tips for doing press releases effectively:
– Do write a release when you have a truly compelling story. Be honest with yourself. A sale or start of a business are not press release worthy. Those happen all the time in various businesses. Receiving a prestigious recognition or hosting a charity event may be. Launching a new line is a gray area… It may be press worthy, but more likely if you are a big name brand.
– Don’t approach a press release as free advertising. Reporters, editors and bloggers get tired of those kind of pitches … And they might call you out online.
– Do shape a story that will grab the editor and reader immediately. Your headline should pack a punch. The first sentence should tell the whole story. Give the details after that. Keep the first part all about the announcement. Finish with a paragraph that describes your company.
– Don’t spam. I read tweets and posts all the time from journalists complaining of email blasts. Research the publication, news service or blog where you want to be featured. Find a section or regular feature that relates to your story. There may be a community section, a local business feature or women entrepreneur section. Contact the editor of that section directly and submit the release, with an explanation of why you think it’s appropriate for his section.
– Do set up a “What’s New” section of your website. List your press releases – in chronological order, with the newest first. Even if your piece isn’t picked up by the media, this page gives new visitors or future media a bit of background on your events or announcements.
– Don’t overdo it. Remember press releases should be about truly press worthy events. Those don’t come up every week, even every month.
Write compelling pieces. Develop relationships with the media. Approach humbly and maintain a news section on your website. Even the “little guys” can use media to their advantage.