Though getting a press release printed in the newspaper or a magazine seems like a big project, it’s often an easier task than you think. One of the few things holding you back is the sheer volume of press releases out there competing against yours. How are you supposed to make yourself seen when chances are yours will never even make it out of the slush pile?
Though it’s obviously never guaranteed, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting printed. They may seem like simple things, but you’d be surprised at how many of those other press release writers didn’t do them!
1. Write Well
Want to really get noticed? Spend some extra time writing and editing. Even at the smallest newspaper newsroom, there are going to be countless press releases coming in all the time. The person who has to wade through them to find something newsworthy is going to find any excuse to discount yours. If there is even one minor mistake, it will be thrown out. If you spend a little extra time making sure your spelling and grammar are in tip-top shape, you’ve got a chance of making it in.
2. Write About Actual News
There are two major problems with the vast majority of press releases. One is the spelling and grammar problems listed above. The second: content. Namely, there isn’t any!
Some companies think press releases are just for getting their name out there. But in the end, press releases have to be newsworthy. Ask yourself: would I read this if it was in the paper? Would I actually read it while I ate my eggs, or would I skip over it to get to the scores from last night’s game? If the answer is the latter, then consider waiting until you have some actual news to share.
3. Befriend a Reporter
This may sound like cheating, but I don’t mean just go out and find a reporter to have on the inside. To really get on a reporter’s good side, try to help them out a little. They are extremely busy people, and woefully underpaid. If you can ease their burdens by being a contact or their “eyes on the street,” they may scratch your back when the time comes.
4. Don’t Lie
Another common mistake writers make is “selling up” whatever it is they’re writing about. You don’t want to make your company look bad, of course, but you also don’t want to lie about anything. That can make you look even worse!
Try to stick to the facts. If you have a new product coming out and want to announce it, don’t talk about how this product will change the face of the planet just by existing. Simply rely on facts and customer testimony to do the job.
5. Read Press Releases
You wouldn’t try to write a novel without ever reading one, right? The same goes for press releases! To really get why certain ones work and why others fail miserably, you have to read them regularly. Try to pick the paper up each day and read the latest announcements from other companies. Also, there are websites out there that focus squarely on terrible press releases for your enjoyment…and education.
What’s the worst press release you’ve ever seen?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html