You’ll come across many books and articles about how to write an effective press release. They cover the usual press release tips – answer the key questions, follow the standard format, include a photo, include third party endorsement. That information is out there but does not help you stand out in a crowd or avoid the common mistakes.
5 PR tips for press release success
Instead, here are five ways to make your press releases work harder for you. As a provider of health or social care services you will have news stories that will be of interest to journalists. The key is to package it in the right way and understand what journalists want.
1. Splice and dice the press release by tweaking it for different target media. If you have picked up an award then you can use that news story in a number of ways, to target: local newspapers (relevant to where you are based); specialist press and media relevant to your sector/the type of award (you might provide social care services but the award could be for HR development); regional business press and media.
2. Phone ahead with a tailored pitch – phone in advance to gauge interest and adapt what you say to that particular journalist. Think about who you are speaking to – phoning a radio journalist with the offer of photos just looks sloppy.
3. Don’t send attachments with an email approach – mostly, attachments will be blocked automatically. Don’t send photos by email unless you have been asked to do so.
4. Website – placing press releases, and the coverage that results, on your website is a great way to showcase your news. If you are including third party endorsement in your press release then it’s worth asking if your press release can be featured on their website too.
5. Read the newspapers – one of the best ways to refine your press release writing style is to read the tabloids and news in brief sections of the broadsheet newspapers. If you can write just as succinctly, capturing the essence of the news story in as few words as possible, then that will appeal to journalists.
In a nutshell: Get inside the heads of the journalists you are targeting. That way you can be tailored in your approach and give them what they want.
How do you do to achieve press release success?
Debbie Leven is a PR coach. To see how she can help you improve your PR, and protect your reputation, click here.
Image credit: Debbie Leven