If it’s your first time or you’ve not yet had success in any of your previous pitches, knowing how to write a press release can seem like a totally unnavigable minefield of archaic ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ To take the edge off we’ve put together our own Bloggamama’s free guide to writing a press release.
What’s the Purpose of a Press Release?
Believe us, we asked ourselves this question a million times over when we first set out blogging: What’s the purpose of a press release?! Other than to jam up your mail box and inundate you with pointless titbits of info you never asked for, right?
If you’ve signed up to any PR networks such as Press Loft the chances, are you received copy after copy of various press releases for anything from the latest product launch to this year’s must have Xmas gift round up. And although much of this type of email content most commonly ends up in your spam or trash folder knowing how to use and pitch a press release can be a hugely valuable source of free and effective advertising. The plain simple truth is that a press release is as good as the person that pings it out! Quick tip if you do feel inundated with PR spam adjust your filter settings on box your email inbox and PR accounts to reduce the noise and only receive articles that are of value to you!
An official statement issued to a publication on a specific matter a press release helps spread news about your business, engage clients you may never normally have access to and ultimately drive traffic to your blog or business page for free! Getting in the practice of routinely pitching relevant news and updates to publications is also a good way to build relationships with them and increase your chance of getting free coverage from them.
What Info to Include in a Press Release
Ideally you want to send your PRs out early on in the week and early in the working morning; when you know that editors and journalists will be sat at their desk, reading their emails. Too early and your email could get swamped with other press emails, too late and they may have already found their news hook for the day. Aim to have it in their inbox by 9.15am. Mondays in a press office also tend to be quite hectic, which is why a lot of PR agencies will do send outs on a Tuesday or if they do send over on a Monday, they make sure to schedule a call (the following day) to confirm the email was received. Try to also avoid Fridays, late in the day or holidays for sending over your press releases and make sure to include all of the following information:
- Contact information and whether the article is for ‘Immediate Release’ or if it needs to be ‘Embargoed’ (held for release on a specific date) at the top. If embargoed, make sure to include the date it’s for publishing
- Title and subheading with a summary of the news. – Make sure the point of the story comes across instantly, Editors are busy and you’ve little time to capture their attention
- News location in opening line
- Two to three paragraphs to add context and additional details. Make sure to include the 5 ‘W’s’ (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
- Include stats as bullet pointed facts and figures (with origins of the survey or report they’ve been pulled from)
- List any quotes you have along with their sources – if you can source a key opinion leader or celebrity influencer who can give a statement to back your findings, this will add an extra draw of appeal
- The relating company description at the bottom
- Type ‘ends’ or use 3 hashtag symbols (###) to signify the end of the release
- Give media contact details for the person who can answer any questions they have on the PR, make sure to include a name, telephone number, email and contact times
- Add a note to the editor to list any additional info or items available such as free products for trying, copies of any reports you have relating to the info included, and raw assets such as images and video
How to Pitch Your Press release
Make sure to research which publications to be sending your press release over to. The more akin the media agent’s audience are to your content the more likely you are to get coverage. Press releases unlike feature articles can go out to a blanket of platforms and media types, but note publications like to print news that is specific and bespoke to them, they do not want to be reprinting another paper’s fish ‘n’ chips wrap. Consider sending your PRs out in waves, if you feel there’s a news hook attached to it, try to target a specific publication for coverage, especially if your PR relates to local news, a certain area or a niche demographic. This is also where good relationships with journalists prove infinitely valuable!
It’s also smart to think about the timing of when you send out your press release. The urge is often just to send out what you have as soon as possible, but if the topic it’s based around sits nicely with a specific awareness day that’s coming up, matching the timing of your PR will make it far more relevant and appealing. Similarly, if you can see a lot of stories in the news around the topic you’re discussing, it is wise to assess whether the news has been saturated with the topic. You may instead want to give your PR a slightly different spin or wait a while before sending it out so you’re not fighting against other competitor press releases and news stories.
If you’d like more information on setting up a press release or how to pitch, email: email@example.com and book in your FREE 30-minute consultation.