Who knows your company’s story better than you?
No one, of course.
So why not act as the cheerleader for your business or nonprofit organization and spread the word?
It may be easy to write a press release. But using this publicity tool to, well, gain publicity, takes a bit of skill.
Follow these tips to make the word-spreading process a bit smoother.
- Know your audience
Before sitting down to write your release think about your ideal reader. Who is he or she and what would they be most likely to care about? Your news may be important to your business or the industry in general, but you want to write in such a way to pique the curiosity of your target audience. To be most effective, answer through your writing, “what’s in it for me” tailored specifically to your market.
- Find an angle
Does your story tie in with local or national news? If so, piggybacking off of that generally makes for an easy angle. Regardless of a news tie-in, be sure to determine a focal point for your story and stick with it. A press release is not the place to try out multiple topics or story ideas to see which will gain the most traction. A muddled story idea or incoherent release will likely be deleted and forgotten.
- Timing is everything
Seasonal news pegs are also effective. However, be careful not to write a press release about something winter-related in spring or summer, for instance. The likelihood of garnering interest from a reporter for an off-season story is slim to none. Chances are good that your story will be forgotten when that season finally comes around. The same goes for news reported after the fact. Whenever possible, notify press prior to an event instead of afterward.
- Do your homework
Be sure you have contact information for the beat reporters who cover your topic or area of interest. Connecting with the proper point people goes a long way to ensuring that your press release is at least reviewed. It is also helpful to know what the reporters in question have written about. If the topic you are pitching was in last week’s article, for example, it is highly unlikely that you could convince a reporter to broach the exact same topic again.
- Be persistent, but not pushy
Reporters are incredibly busy people who receive hundreds of emails and phone calls on a daily basis from people just like you, eager to share their stories. What makes your story special? If you aren’t sure, it will be next to impossible to convey that uniqueness to a reporter. Ultimately selling the writer on your news is a major hurdle to obtaining coverage. Recognize that it’s a delicate balance between following up to make sure emails were received … and being a nuisance.
Theresa Katalinas has interviewed hundreds of small business owners, local government and school officials and other prominent figures through her decade-long work as a newspaper and multi-media digital reporter and editor. She now uses her media expertise to tell the stories of her clients and coordinate relevant press coverage. To learn more about public relations services through Katalinas Communications call 215-519-8833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.