One thing that many people seem to forget is that for a press release to be effective, it needs to provide real news. Despite the overuse of the press release as a marketing tool, it’s still one of the most cost-effective ways to get your messages to influencers: web content producers, editors, reporters, and radio and TV producers.
Imagine you are watching the six o’clock news on your favorite TV channel. The news celebrity says, “XYZ Corporation today announced it will be releasing its first product, a high-speed, left-handed smoke shifter.”
How fast can you punch up another channel on your remote?
That’s not news. Thousands of companies release new products every day. What’s different about the XYZ smoke shifter? The fact is, you have little chance of getting a story like that covered anywhere, unless you follow some basic rules.
Sell It In the Headline
Leading off as rule number one: write a killer headline. In fact, the headline should be able to tell enough of the story to get an editor to read the whole release. At influential trade journals and consumer publications, an editor sometimes receives more than a thousand releases each week. That editor is going to spend a fleeting moment scanning each headline. Just as you would, if you were faced with the same task.
The headline has to resonate with a benefit. For example, “Smoke Shifter Spells Relief for Southpaws” demonstrates a benefit in the headline. Another might read, “New Product Eliminates Deadly Smoke Faster to Save Lives.” Again, a benefit speaks volumes about the contents of the release.
Formatting the Release
Press releases follow a fairly standard format convention. Your contact information should be at the top left of the release. Immediately following the contact information, include the line For Immediate Release. This lets the editor know that the information is time-sensitive. If you want the story to run on a later date, then I recommend sending the release at a date closer to that date.
The headline follows. Make it bold and use a standard font, like Arial or Times Roman. You can make it a little larger than the body text, say, 14 points. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to include a smaller subheading that gives more information. Start your story with the location, in all caps.