Why should I write a press release?

Online press releases are a superb way of gaining potentially massive (and often free) exposure for your business.

What should I write about?

Anything that can be considered newsworthy. Some suggestions:

• A product launch
• Winning an award
• Announcing an event
• Introducing a new employee
• Highlighting a new partnership
• Revealing market research or survey results

Create Your Headline Last

You might think you can come up with a powerful headline straight away, but I can practically guarantee you’ll produce something better after you’ve written your body copy, so work on that first.

Five Tips To Successful Body Copy

1. Your body copy should be newsy rather than salesy. Direct response advertising is littered with the word “you” – and rightly so, because it is designed to appeal to the reader directly. Our news release, however, must appear a more objective piece of writing, so, aside from a quoted statement or opinion, copy should be free from the terms, “you”, “I”, “we” or “our”.

2. Utilise the services of the ‘journalist’s best friends’ – ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’’ to format your opening paragraph. Use the active voice and strong verbs to bring colour to your story. You’re aiming for 300-800 words of tightly-written copy, ideally.

3. Your press release must come across as professionally written: jargon and hype-free. Make sure your news offers genuine entertainment or educational value. It needs to pass the ‘so what?’ test, that relegates many press releases to the waste bin.

4. Whenever possible, include multimedia files such as images and video that will provide an added dimension to your narrative. Make sure you submit your press release in PDF format, so nothing gets lost in translation.

5. Include your email address in the ‘contact’ information rather than the body copy. If you include email addresses in the body copy, you risk your details being picked up by the ‘spambot’ – a web crawler that trawls the Internet harvesting email addresses for producing unsolicited mailing lists (spam).

Construct Your Powerful Headline

Your headline should provide information. It isn’t a direct sales pitch or advertisement, though it should grab attention. It must contain the kinds of keywords or search terms your customers are likely to use. Creating your headline last will ensure you capture the most important keywords from your body copy.

Proofread Your Press Release Thoroughly Before Hitting ‘Send’

You’d be surprised just how many errors you will miss in trying to proofread a document on a computer screen. It’s best to print out your press release and have it checked through several times (by different people if possible) before submitting it. Typos and grammatical errors will reflect badly on your business and once your news item is out there in cyberspace, it’s pretty much impossible to retract it.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson’s company Jenkinson & Associates Ltd is a UK marketing company providing outsourced marketing services to companies looking to grow their sales and profits.