A press release can be a powerful tool to help spread the word about a business. But do you know how to write one? The key to an effective press release is writing about something that people will perceive as newsworthy. Press releases aren’t meant to be a sales ad, but rather a news story to generate public interest in the news media. Have you attempted to write a press release, only to have lackluster results? Or, have you not even attempted one because you had no idea where to start? If any of these situations apply to you, I’m here to help!
What Is Newsworthy
First off, you need to decide what to write about. You can write about a new location opening, a community event you’re hosting, a new product launch, a charitable event you’re organizing, etc. What you don’t want to write about is a general product promotion, ordinary sale, etc. Your press release won’t get picked up if its perceived as nothing more than a regular advertisement. If all else fails and you can’t think of anything else to write about, we all have something in common that is quite extraordinary that many news media will love…the fact that you’re a local mompreneur trying to make it in your community! It’s estimated that there are now about 4,000,000 mompreneurs in the US. It’s a huge trend as more women get creative and create businesses around their passions that fit their lifestyle as a mom and an entrepreneur. You can highlight yourself as a local mom trying to do just that to your local media. I’ve written a press release to introduce our local groups that focuses on this angle. You can see it here if you’d like to get some ideas on writing something following this angle.
How To Format Your Press Release
Once you know what to write about, you’ll want to create your press release. There’s a standard format that’s used, and to have the best chances of being picked up, you’ll want to use it! To help you get started, I’ve created a template for you. You can use it to lay the groundwork for your release!
As far as content, you’ll want to follow some of the basic rules of newswriting. I know you’re not all journalists, so this may be tricky, but here are a handful of general guidelines to follow as you write.
- You’ll start with a headline. It should be brief and to the point, but enticing so that a reader will want to learn more and keep reading. You’ll write the headline in bold, all caps and center it on the page.
- You can then enter a subheader to explain your article in more detail. You want to be catchy here and elaborate on the angle of your story.
- Now you’ll work on the body. Your first paragraph should contain all pertinent information about the story, including the who, what, where, when and why. Your first paragraph should include the meat and bones of the story and include all the facts. The remaining paragraphs should include more details about the story to supplement the main message. A good rule of thumb is to write your paragraphs in order of importance. The most important information being first and the least important information being at the end.
- A press release, as with any news story, is always written in third person.
- Your press release should be at least 500 words. On the flipside, try not to make it too long and try to keep it all on one page if possible.
- Newswriting is a bit different than regular writing. We follow a format called AP style in journalism. There are many subtle differences in the writing style. I often find myself forgetting what and where I am writing and combine regular grammar with AP style, a curse of many journalists. If you’d like to learn more about proper newswriting for future reference, I suggest picking up an AP stylebook. It’s a neat read.
Where To Submit Your Press Release
Once you’ve got your press release written, now you need to decide where to submit it. If you’re going with a local angle, you’ll want to stick with local media. Research newspapers and magazines in your area, from small community papers to larger regional ones. Identify the editors of the area you’d like to be published in. This information is readily available online. You’ll then email a copy of your press release to the appropriate editor. Be sure not to send more than one email to a publication. No one likes a spammer and being too persistent may lead to your article getting thrown in the garbage (or trash bin of their email inbox)!
If you have an angle to your press release that is not local to your area, you should also submit your press release to online submission services. There are so many out there, some are paid and some are free. For a free service, check out www.prlog.org. They’ll get your press release distributed across the net and it won’t break into your business’s budget!
Want more business tips like this? Take our Mompreneur’s 30 Day Challenge: Small Steps to a Big Business…it’s free!
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