Do you want your business to gain more publicity in your local area or online? Do you have an upcoming event or product release that you want to garner excitement for? Then it may be time for you to write a press release.
In 1906, Ivy Lee wrote the first press release by describing a trainwreck for his client, the Pennsylvania Railroad. His writing was so well-received that The New York Times published the release without any edits of their own.
Today, press releases have the same goal. You want to capture the attention of journalists and media professionals through a well-written, newsworthy piece. Read on to learn all about how to send a press release and whether they’re still relevant in 2020.
What Is a Press Release?
People often make the mistake of confusing a pitch or marketing copy for a press release. A pitch is written in order to persuade journalists and gives a tease or a taste of what’s to come in your press release. This helps journalists determine whether your press release is newsworthy or not.
A press release gives all the details–the who, what, why, when, and where. It will also be able to generate interest through a catchy and relevant headline, plenty of quotes, a strong call to action, and of course leave your company’s contact information.
Here are some examples of when to craft a press release:
- Notifying the media about an upcoming event
- Promoting a new product or service
- Sharing important information such as a change in management
- Announcing proprietary products and services
- Sharing data or trends of a specific industry
- And more
All of these examples have one feature in common–they’re newsworthy. A press release isn’t worth writing if you simply want to spread the word about the features and benefits of your current services or products. There needs to be a specific and timely reason why readers should be interested.
Why Do Press Releases Still Matter?
It’s understandable if you’re wondering why you should focus on press releases on top of your normal email marketing, social media outreach, or website copy. However, there are quite a few ways that press releases differentiate themselves from regular marketing efforts.
1. Establishing Media Relationships
One of the main benefits of sending out press releases is that you’ll create lasting relationships with the media. Journalists often utilize brand press releases in order to quickly gain relevant information for their articles and pieces.
If you have a well-written press release that draws attention with newsworthy information, it’s far more likely that journalists will run your story.
Journalists have a strict Code of Ethics that ensures they’re delivering factual information to readers. The four principles of ethical journalism include:
- Seeking the truth and reporting it
- Minimizing harm
- Acting independently to avoid conflicts of interest
- Being accountable and transparent
Press releases help build a business’s credibility because journalists will oftentimes only publish them if they align with their code of ethics. They’ll be sure to verify the statistics and information you include in your press releases. When journalists publish a story, readers are far more likely to take it seriously.
According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust? study, 70% of respondents said they tied their purchase decisions with how much they trust a company or corporation. Gaining credibility in your industry isn’t something to be taken lightly.
3. Gaining Organic SEO Traffic
If your company has a blog, you may already be familiar with this concept. Consistently posting relevant, interesting, and educational content with your readers boosts the likelihood that your website will be shown on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). The key is to focus on quality, and press releases present a great opportunity to add more quality content to your website.
A good press release will not only be entertaining and well-written, but it will also contain well-researched keywords as well as quality links.
4. Customer Engagement
Press releases don’t just build relationships with journalists–they also help foster engagement and lasting relationships with your customers. Since press releases are another kind of unique content for your company, you can use snippets of the press release–such as quotes, statistics, or infographics–to share on your social media channels.
With a strong call to action with your press release, such as like, share, or retweet, you’ll find that your customers are engaging with your content more than ever before.
5. Creating a Portfolio
Once your company starts writing press releases, they’ll become a normal part of your content calendar. Companies often create portfolios of their press releases on separate pages of their websites so that journalists and customers have easy access to them.
Not only are these portfolios a great way to boost SEO, but they also act as marketing material for potential customers or investors.
How to Send a Press Release: Engaging Content
Once you have a press release written, knowing how to send a press release is relatively easy. Press releases are often sent to journalists through email. Build a contact list of relevant journalists or influencers and use sites such as LinkedIn or Google.
Pay attention to any submission guidelines and craft a formal but precise cover letter in your email that describes who you are, what the press release is about, when it needs to be released, and how it’s relevant to the journalist’s audience. Remember to follow-up if you don’t receive a response right away!