The humble press release has become an important part of marketing strategy and PR for any business. But how do you factor them in to planning and what do you need to know?
Why do we use press releases?
Essentially, a press release has a dual function. Its key purpose is to communicate something to the outside world, whether that’s news, developments or updates. If the release is well put together and is placed into the right hands then it can ensure a very wide circulation for the latest developments at your organisation. The second purpose of the press release is to support brand perception and awareness. Properly curated press releases contribute to the public profile that your business is able to build and generate consistent brand image.
Where does the press release fit?
The most effective place for a press release is as part of a wider communications and content strategy so that it is tied into business development, key dates and broader PR overview. Press releases are the flares that go up when you want the wider world to know its time to turn in the direction of your business so the timing of the press release, as well as its content and the way that it is distributed, can be a crucial part of its success.
Putting together the press release
You might be great at blogs, or have nailed the tone of your emails, but a press release is rather a different matter. The key is to focus on providing information in the most direct and succinct way possible. Press releases are often skimmed so need to be able to deliver their data hit in a very short space of time. The tone of the press release should be more formal than what you might choose to put online or into a blog. Simplicity is essential – if you over complicate the press release then you’ll most likely lose people straight away.
What should the press release say?
The release needs to tell the reader about your business, as well as making clear the reason for putting something in writing on this specific date. Factual accuracy is crucial in press releases, as their content is often relied on by PRs or writers and if there are mistakes in the press release then these will go on to be repeated elsewhere. The content of a press release should be focused purely on your own brand, don’t mention any others unless you want to promote them too – and stick to the third person when you’re writing a release.
How to get the press release noticed
- Create your press release in plenty of time – have it ready at least a week before release date
- Start making contacts with whom you’re going to share the release
- A few days before, let your contacts know the release is coming and why they might want to engage with it
- Decide whether you want to share the release with a select list of contacts or to a much wider audience via a site like www.mynewsdesk.com
- Draft a cover email to go with your press release and make sure that this contains a call to action to the reader to go on to read the release
If you’d like to know more about how to craft perfect content for your business, contact a member of the team.