by: Jeannine Wheeler
On any given day, 1,800 press releases are published in the United States, according to PR Daily. That’s a lot!
So how do YOU stand out? As a small business, it’s not easy. You are pressed for time; you’re doing most everything in the business yourself and things like PR and social media can be sent to the back burner.
The benefits of getting coverage for your product or service in the right spaces, however, can help to propel you forward, resulting in higher sales, the edge over your competitors and the visibility that can help you become an industry leader.
Sending a press release to targeted media is a first step. In addition, you are creating content that will sit on your website, helping to elevate your SEO if done correctly.
Here are a few top tips for getting it right.
Speak TO your audience, not AT
Be conversational and use tone and language that you would use in everyday life, but do write to your industry. If you’re writing for the tech industry, you will need to use that industry’s vernacular. If you’re health and beauty or recreation, it will be a bit more fun and light. Write to your audience. As Cision says, “You do not need to write for everyone. Just for those you want to write about your brand.”
Be brief but include all particulars
Brevity is key, but you do need to include the most important details, including pricing, where to get your product or service, its release date, a hi res image, company information and the link to your website, as well as your contact details (the name of a real live person is best).
In general, releases should be between 400 to 600 words.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Include media (images, videos, infographics) that are most likely to be used in the publication you’re pitching to. Think about how your targeted publication (online or in print) uses images or video and try to get them something similar. The idea is to get editors everything they need to say yes to your pitch. The more you study the publication, the more you will know what they need. Plus, when you share your press release out yourself on your own social media, you will get more engagement if you include great images or video. At the very least, include your logo in the release.
Include a call to action
In addition to the who, what when, where and why, don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA). What is it you want the public to do with your information? Do you want them to go to the website, sign up for a conference, buy your product or donate to a cause? For SEO purposes, use industry keywords (but not awkwardly) and take them back to your website or ecommerce site. Once there, get them to sign up for future emails, newsletters or other engagement.
Focus on the headline and subject line
The headline in the release should be informative; it can also be entertaining. But most importantly, it needs to be alluring. Journalists read hundreds of these releases a week and you only get one chance to engage them, especially if they don’t know you. The headline gives them the encouragement to read on. Effective headlines should be between 50 and 60 characters at most, the latter of which is Google’s cut-off point. The same finesse should go for the subject line in your email to the reporter. They are just as susceptible to a great story as anyone else.
Reporters are always looking for ways to localize national trends with stories that their geographic readers care about, whether ‘geographic’ means actual place or industry-specific. What are readers in their space looking for? Study your targeted publication and then figure out how you can supply the kind of information that will prove valuable to their readers.
Include social media icons on your release so it can be shared easily and quickly. Once you’ve uploaded the release to your website, you can add the share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or any other social media channel that is most relevant to your company product or service. Click here for more information.
Not too personal, of course, but do use a reporter or editor’s name. After all, you wouldn’t like it if you received an email that was asking you to do something with ‘Dear Sir or Madam.’
But don’t be a pest
Once you send the release (and it doesn’t bounce back) you can be sure it has been received. However, it may have been sent to the trash bin immediately, ignored or set aside for later reading. Do follow up a day or two later, but if you still don’t get a response, don’t harass a journalist. They won’t appreciate it. Sometimes, you won’t hear back for weeks or months and then, just when you are least expecting it, you might get a bite. This is just because they have saved your messaging and come across a timely use for your information.
You’re well on your way to raising your profile and bringing your product or service to a new audience.
About The Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of PureEnergyPR , a PR firm specializing in powerful, tailored and highly strategic communications programs for clients in a variety of industries, including energy, mining, building services, healthcare and health and wellness. Jeannine is in the firm’s Austin, Texas office.