Preparing a press release can feel like walking a tight rope: Is the content error free? Is the release formatted properly? With guidance by expert strategists at Mopdog, you can safely traverse crafting a press release in five steps—and get to the other side in style.
Step One: Focus on the News
Disseminating newsworthy content “over the wire” originally started by telegraphing information through actual cables crisscrossing the globe. Now, commercial news collection agencies (like PR Newswire and Business Wire) send press releases via satellite to subscriber newspapers or radio/television stations, as well as to personal emails of industry bloggers.
The ability for companies and nonprofits to reach out to media directly is a great resource for distributing news about awards or recognitions, mergers and acquisitions, changes to executive leadership, a crisis at the organization, a specific response to a natural disaster and even sharing a human interest story.
Do not list “For Immediate Release” at the top. Most wire services will have internal editors strip this text before sending. Once a news release is distributed by a business to the media, the content is considered free to share with their public audience—especially since a copy of the press release is almost always posted online at the same time.
Step Two: Generate Interest
A press release must be framed to highlight what is new or interesting about the latest development at your organization. Avoid being typical or bland. Do not state that your company is “announcing.” The whole purpose of a press release is to make an announcement. The news is WHAT the announcement is specifically about.
Keep the tone objective. A press release should not sound like an advertisement with flashy sales pitches. Take a straightforward approach when speaking about a new product. Remember to write in third person (an outside view of the organization). Do not use “our” or “we.”
The main objective is to answer WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE in the lede (first paragraph of a news story.) The rest of the press release should spell out the WHY. Steer clear of jargon words like “utilize,” “leverage” or “facilitate.” Instead, use keywords directly related to your business to optimize the content for better search results
Step Three: Talk about Yourself
The official name of your company or organization should be listed in the headline, and then repeated early in the first sentence. The press release should end with a boilerplate, which should be a consistent “elevator pitch” that is also used across your website, print materials, e-communications and social media. The boilerplate is another chance to pepper the press release with SEO terms and link to your website homepage, contact page or specific landing page.
Providing at least one extensive quote is a great way to break away from the facts of the news and provide more perspective. An internal leader—who can offer expert insight and gain visibility for the organization—should deliver the quote. Remember to keep this section conversational and allow some personality, so the quote sounds believable when read out loud. Any legalize jargon will lose the appeal of the message.
Step Four: Secure Coverage
It is best to send a press release early in the week and early in the morning, unless it is unexpected, breaking news. If the information is for media only (like an announcement about a press conference, with a hint at the larger story), then the press release is actually a “media advisory.” This exclusive is not for the general public and should be sent directly to trusted media sources.
Your press release will gain extra traction if it incudes relevant photos. Other “digital assets” might include a link to a video or other viral campaign. Don’t forget to internally draft social media teasers to share across your organization’s online platforms, once the press release “goes live.” You can also repurpose the press release into a blog for your website and share it as an e-communication to stakeholders.
Step Five: Hire a Professional
To really gain the full effect of sending out a press release, a team of strategists (high wire professionals) needs to craft a media pitch—a blurb about the breaking news from your company that frames the story around a trending topic and highlights the dynamic person from the organization who is available for an interview. This blurb is sent to a list of media contacts that have been cultivated by this public relations team.
Mopdog has an entire team of specialists, including two former journalists from both the print and video production fields, who have years of experience working hand-in-hand with wire services. Review Mopdog’s previous PR stunt work by accessing the LifeWise Renovations Press Releases below. Then download Mopdog’s Press Release Template to traverse the wire with ease.