Press releases can be a powerful weapon in your marketing and public relations arsenal. Just be sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot with them.
I can’t count the number of press releases I’ve written over the years in my career as a business writer–and it’s almost as hard to count the number of times I’ve had to explain to my clients why it’s critical for their releases to be well-written, accurate and actually contain news.
Thanks to the internet and search engines, press releases can work harder and do more than ever before. You can design releases to target a range audiences: the media, existing customers, prospective customers, investors, suppliers, and more. And you can send out thousands of them with a few clicks.
But if your press releases are sloppy, inaccurate and clearly self-serving, you’re wasting your time–or worse, you’re damaging your reputation.
Henry Stimpson wrote a great post on how to write a bad press release. It’s short, funny and absolutely spot-on! Read it: 13 Ways to Fail in PR: How to Guarantee Your Press Releases Will Be Completely Ignored. Pay special attention to #13: “Apply a similar philosophy to your website, brochures, advertisements, email, newsletters and presentations…” To this I add: social media.
For 13 ways to succeed, just do the opposite of Stimpson’s list.
My advice for writing press releases that are worth sending:
- Have a clearly defined purpose and audience for every release.
- Write with the audience in mind.
- Use correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar.
- Avoid jargon and buzzwords.
- Write a headline that is both catchy and clear.
- Use a subhead to further draw in the reader.
- Lead with the facts–no hype, no selling.
- Keep it short.
- Include complete contact information.
- Proof read and fact check. Then do it again.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.jacquelynlynn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/JacquelynLynn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer and ghostwriter who creates written content in the form of books, ebooks, articles, blogs, press releases, social media copy, white papers and more. [/author_info] [/author]