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10 Steps to Writing an Unforgettable Press Release

11/02/2012

This blog has a nice mention about us – so we posted!  For more information about Anne Butler and Butler Advisers go to butleradvisers.com

10 Steps To Writing An Unforgettable Press Release

At some time or other in your company’s life, you will decide you want to write a press realease.  When you do, make sure what you say is newsworthy! A press release should deliver a real announcement.  Sounds simple enough, but most announcements being made these days just don’t sound exciting anymore.  So let’s start with a simple question: Do you have anything exciting to say?  The first step to writing a press release that won’t be forgotten is to make sure the message is, well, exciting.  Worthy of being written about by reporters, and reported on.

In order to illustrate how to write a really good press release for you here, I used an actual press release.  “The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written” was crafted by Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint Public Relations.  It’s amusing, and at the same time instructive, and instantly went viral on Facebook back in January 2011.  I too saw it on Facebook, and one week later I saw it on the homepage of Wall Street Journal’s website!

Every PR professional must have been kicking themselves that they didn’t think of it first.  Mitch is a genius.  So in honor of Mitch, I decided to use his amazing press release as my example.  Below it, I include all my tips.  While these tips are directed mainly to startups, every company can find something in them to learn from.

1) CHOOSE THE KEYWORDS CAREFULLY IN THE HEADLINE

Thanks to Google, press releases live forever.  Choose the best keywords to help you be “found” by Google.  For example, Charles & Colvard’s press release announcing my joining their Board included the keywords: Anne Butler, Charles & Colvard, Direct Selling.  Shortly thereafterwards, I received several phone calls from financial reporters wanting to discuss the direct selling industry.

2) CREATE A COMPELLING HEADLINE

This is where I spend 70% of my efforts.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Understand that reporters see so many press releases, that if the title isn’t exciting, they won’t click on it.  The only purpose of a headline is to get a click.  No one will read ANYTHING you write about, if they don’t first click on the headline.  This is where you focus, and pick the most exciting headline resulting from the brainstorming session.

3) ANNOUNCE SOMETHING EXCITING

There are two parts to any press release.  The Announcement, and the Company’s Information.

By the time you decide to issue a press release, you should already have at least 100-300 words that describe your business.  It may already be on your “About” page on your website.  You should include this text in the last section.

So the final 30% of your efforts should be to focus on the announcement itself.  Make sure it’s exciting!

4) ADD TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials should be extremely relevant to the announcement.  Quote the owner or CEO of the company.  A customer is better.  Do not use more than two testimonials.

5) ADD PICTURES OR A LOGO

I prefer to use highly relevant pictures with an announcement in order to break up the text.  If you can’t get a good picture, then use the company’s logo.  Do not use a picture of an executive, owner, or CEO.

6) ADD A WEBSITE LINK

If you manage to excite a reporter into clicking on your headline, and happen to get lucky enough that your announcement excites him, then you should allow him to click over to your website to learn more.  Make sure the link is active.

7) ADD A FACEBOOK LINK

Bobbie Wasserman wrote a great post here about the importance of Facebook (and social media).  She called it “your company’s second website”.  I agree.  Some people would rather connect with you via Facebook, and see your status updates in order to learn what your company is doing.  Make sure you provide the link to your Fan Page, and that it’s active.  (Contact Bobbie at Wave2Alliances if you want to discuss strategy with a good PR person).

8) ADD VIDEO

If the service you are using to distribute the press release allows for video, use it.  There is no better way to explain what your company’s message is than video.  If you have a company “explainer video” available, then use it.  You can even record yourself reading the text of the announcement on video, then upload it to YouTube.  If you can embed it directly onto the press release, then even better.  If you need to provide a link to YouTube, that is the next best option.

9) SOCIAL SHARING

Make sure that anyone reading the press release may share it via: Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  In that order of importance.

10) ADD CONTACT INFO

Add a phone number & email address that anyone can contact.

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