PR Tips for a Young (ANY) Marketer
Press Release Tips
I recently had opportunity to work with a marketing student on a press release. He did a good job writing a release for class (but using a real subject, real news, utilized by a client of mine). Here are some tips I passed along to him. Maybe they will be a help to you, as well.
Tip 1: Make sure the first paragraph tells the whole, factual story.
I tightened up the introduction paragraph. One of the things to remember about releases is that with smaller publications and mass online distribution – often publications and websites will pick up the release exactly as submitted. Most likely the first paragraph (which is supposed to be the who, what, when, where, why… do they still teach that simplicity still?), so I combined your first and second paragraph. Larger publications will rewrite or use parts to fit a larger story they may be writing.
Tip 2: Use a quote to add more depth and explanation to the news story.
The quote from the business owner was great. This permits more “editorial” comment on the “news” of the release. The quote can add color commentary, add dimension to the news story, and best of all, tie the current news to larger mission/strategy of the organization.
Tip 3: After telling the news story, conclude with a paragraph that builds the branding or provides value proposition.
I usually add a standard last paragraph in a release about the company, which differs from the boilerplate company description added after the end of the release content. I do this because often the boilerplate is cut or ignored, but a paragraph in the release itself may get read.
Tip 4: Respect reporters time, but give them some information that could help THEIR job.
One other tip as you move forward in your work in PR – reporters and editors at publications that do “real” reporting (unlike online content grabbers and small publications as mentioned above); reporters are looking to investigate and report. So often, less is better. With some reporters, I may attach a release, but will also in the email body l put just a hint of the story that may entice them to investigate further. I know they are busy, and probably won’t read the release (and they probably are reading their email on their phone – tough to read an attachment). I want to tee up their professional curiosity. Here’s an example:
Subject: Expansion at XYZ Company
Attached is a release about expansion at XYZ. Really good prospects in ABC sector. Let me know if you’re working stories on which we could be of help.
I’m hoping the reporter asks the question – what prospects are opening up in the ABC sector? Would my readers find that opportunity of interest? And I offered myself and the company as a resource for other stories.
The key to PR success:
- Only submit information that is actually news
- Think long-term – you want to build trust with reporters and editors – its an ongoing conversation
- Follow the rules, but still go old school – meaning do online distribution (PR Newswire or other online distribution), follow publication rules (submit via their news submission form online for example or only submit stories with a photo – that’s actually a rule some publications), but go old school too: send it directly to a list of reporters and editors (using the tease method) and even… shocking… follow up with a phone call to see if they have any questions.
Hope this helps on your marketing journey. May all your PR be genius!