opinion

PR IMPACT - Make It Newsworthy!

Joe D

A well-written press release can dramatically increase your sales, expose your company to the masses, and greatly enhance the image of your business or products. However, make certain your release does not sound like a sales pitch. Of course marketing and branding go hand in hand even if you’re writing about staging trade shows or technical conferences or even announcing the latest industry technologies, trends, products and services, but it’s the way the message is conveyed that is key to composing winning copy to capture the full attention of the greatest number of readers.

When writing a news release, ask yourself, “Why do people value our existence?” Your brand is meaningless if it does not positively resonate with your target customers; it is essential that you are organized to deliver something they value highly. Knowing your reading audience, and thus your ‘customers’ be they webmasters or end users, will help ensure that you have the ability to emphasize and deliver something important and to establish positive associations about your company and services in their minds.

Since one of the prime initial considerations of the press release is to appeal to a media outlet, it is essential that certain conditions are met to create an interesting piece. If your objective is to publish an article or interview, or initiate some type of future follow-up or appearance, then creating a stimulating press release is a key way to start. However, even if you meet all of the requirements of creating an interesting release there is no guarantee that the selected media will publish it. Carefully consider all the steps in this list when composing your release:

  • Make certain the information is newsworthy.
  • The first ten words of your release are the most important, and should cover the five Ws and H – Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? You must convince the media outlet and subsequently its readers to continue reading because the information you are presenting is in their best interests.
  • Start with a brief description of the core news and only then distinguish who is making the announcement.
  • Ask yourself, "How is my reading audience going to relate to my news, and will they make the connection to my company and its products or services?"
  • Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language, save them for a follow up article on your website or in the media outlet. In the release, deal only with the facts.
  • Provide as much contact information as possible: Name and contact details of the company spokesperson including address, phone, fax, email, website address and an after-hours number.
  • A release should be concise, direct, succinct, and not longer than two pages typed in 12pt Times Roman with double spacing – one page is better.
  • Use a minimum of one-inch margins on each side of the page and center the body of the release on the page.
  • Complete a paragraph on one page rather than carry it over onto the next page.
  • Print the release on your company letterhead or plain white bond paper if you are mailing. Use only one side of each sheet of paper.
  • When you’ve completed the release, it is essential to proofread the release several times, preferably read it out loud which will help you identify grammar and factual errors you may have missed. You cannot have too many eyes, so have someone else read it over for an additional objective opinion.
  • Always bear in mind that while your underlying premise may be to dramatically increase your sales and greatly enhance the image of your business, it is important not to make blatant advertising the focal point.
  • Write about yourself or the company in the third person, using "he, she, they, the company."
  • Always attempt to include relevant quotes and reactions.
  • If you can support the fact that your event is the largest or first, you can use these superlatives to your advantage.

A great way to generate specific ideas for your newsworthy release is to ask how you can fulfill the key needs of your customers, how to win over customers to evaluate and recognize the value you offer, and what is important to them. What do you want to be known for? The message relayed through your release should be about how your company or its products and services will benefit the readers and the community at large. For example, “Adding the Webbilling.com direct debit platform can enable you to give access to an additional +70% of the European market which cannot join your program by credit card …”

Typical news angles include celebrating an anniversary, presenting or receiving an award, announcing an appointment, conducting a poll or survey, opening a new office, website or service, interviewing a celebrity or industry personality, staging a debate about a controversial topic, sponsoring an event, issuing a protest, providing valuable feedback following a successful tradeshow or conference; or issuing a report on innovative trends within the industry. A good example of a newsworthy release is to provide information about a new product or service that will save people time, make life easier, or the all-important one – impact your bottom line in the positive direction.

What is the secret formula for creating a global brand and becoming a segment leader? Stay tuned for more marketing and press release ideas!

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