For any organization, large or small, getting the word out about who you are and what you do is critical to generating new business. News releases are an excellent way to tell your story and garner exposure and interest in your company. Media outlets are inundated with news releases, so you need to make sure yours stands out. These tips will help you create a winning news release and cut through the clutter.
Pick your topic
For some this is the hardest part. Since you’ll be competing with other businesses and their stories, you’ll need to choose a topic of interest to a reporter and his/her publication and the audience they serve. Are you doing something that relates to current events or future trends in your industry? What hot button issues is your industry facing? Any new regulations you can simplify? Best practices you can share?
Write a compelling headline
This is your chance to get the readers’ attention. If they aren’t interested in your headline, they won’t read the rest of your release. The headline provides the main theme of the release in just a few words so you need to be able to boil it down. Stick to 140 characters for the main headline and use subheads if necessary. Make it catchy and inviting.
Write it like a news story
Be concise and to the point. Provide details, quotes from important people in your organization, and answer the all-important Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions. Consider breaking your paragraphs up using subheads. These will draw the readers’ attention and even if they don’t read your entire release, they’ll still get the main points. This is not an advertisement. Your release must be written like a news story.
Stick to one page
Remember, the media is getting hundreds of these a day. Make it too long and it won’t be read. A news release is a teaser. It’s not meant to tell the entire story just get the reporter’s attention and encourage them to find out more.
Include a boilerplate
The boilerplate comes at the end of every news release and is short paragraph (5 sentences) about your organization. In a nutshell it tells readers who you are and what you do. When was your business established, how many offices/locations do you have, where do you conduct business, and what products or services do you offer?
Now that you’ve got an impressive release in hand, the work really begins - pitching it to media. It’s important to send your release to the correct person at your target media outlet. Be aware of how they do their job – what are their deadlines, how do they like to be contacted, what angles are they interested in and have they written similar articles already? To be successful, you need to know your audience and for a news release your first audience is the reporter.