When crafting your business’s marketing strategy, don’t forget about developing a relationship with the press. Although newspapers and magazine circulation has drastically decreased over the past 20 years, the demand for content still exists via online platforms.
Here are several suggestions for crafting a press release to tell your business’s story and how to best connect with local, regional or national reporters.
Forget the hard sell. Think like a reporter with a deadline. Pitch a story, not your company. Ask yourself why would this publication’s readers care about your story. Your press release must deliver actual news or interesting information. It should read like a news story with a catchy headline.
Do your homework. Read the publication that you’d like to see your story appear in to learn about its writing style and what types of stories it prefers to publish. Focus on articles that overlap with your company’s offerings. Identify the common interests of the publication’s readers and tailor your press release to their needs. Consider how your idea might extend the subject matter further or offer an alternative solution to a problem.
Send story ideas to the right person. Larger publications and broadcasting outlets often have various departments, each of which may be inundated with press releases from governments, businesses and non-profit organizations. So it’s important to identify the reporter or editor who normally handles stories related to your industry, and send your press release to that specific person.
Follow a standard news story outline. For most newspaper, magazine or internet venues, you’ll want to follow a tried-and-true story format. Start with a catchy headline followed by an introductory paragraph that answers who, what, when, where and so what. Follow-up with paragraphs that include quotations from interesting people, statistics, a brief company history or newsworthy trends.
Keep it short and simple. A standard press release typically runs 400 to 500 words, just enough to grab the reader’s interest. Don’t include exaggerations or claims that can’t be readily supported or make readers reach for a dictionary with complicated jargon.
Follow up. After you’ve sent the press release, reach out to the reporter or editor to see if they have any questions. If your story is picked for publication, a reporter will reach out to you for additional information.