Press releases are a fundamental part of a marketing programme. They are inexpensive, take little time to prepare and are effective when done consistently. Set up a system for generating press releases so that you are prepared each time something noteworthy happens.
Compile a list of media contacts likely to be interested in newsworthy items, such as product announcements and special events. This includes contacts at newspaper, radio and TV stations, magazines, trade and industry publications. Since the media will not come looking for you, it’s your responsibility to create a steady stream of noteworthy items – and it may take a number of press releases before one gets picked up.
Call each media contact and get the correct name, title, address, phone number and email address of the individual to whom press releases should be sent. Then send at least one press release each quarter.
Tips for Preparing a Good Press Release:
- Keep it short – one page is usually sufficient
- Use double spacing
- Send a digital photograph, noting what the picture is about. Remember to also include names, addresses and a phone number
- Address the press release to the name and title of the appropriate person
- Write “for immediate release” in the top left corner of the page
- The headline should be underlined and should be followed by a brief summary of the following article (known as a “standfirst”)
- Be factual in your wording. Avoid unnecessary elaboration
- Answer WHO – WHAT – WHEN – WHERE and WHY in the first paragraph
- Flesh out the details in the following paragraph(s)
- Send a brochure, background information on the firm or information on the subject matter in order to validate yourself, the firm and the event
- End the press release with ‘###’ to indicate that there is nothing to follow
If You Get A Follow Up Call:
- Return it immediately – journalists are always “on deadline” and they will use another story if you do not respond quickly
- Immediately send additional information if it is requested
- Ask when the piece might appear
- There are a number of online press release outlets. An internet search will identify the most popular resources
- Send a thank you note