A great press release can get your business free publicity reaching thousands of readers. There's no guarantee, however, that an editor will use your press release. You can better the chances if:
- The release offers real news. Employee promotions, new products and changes in location are news. So are tie-ins between something you sell or a service you provide and an event, trend or other news-making situation.
- The release is timely. An editor is most likely to consider a release sent right after a promotion or when an issue currently is in the news.
- The release goes to the correct editor. Call the newsroom to ask who should receive it. Ask for the correct spelling of that person's name.
Get step-by-step help and a press release template onlineYour first audience is the editor, so you'll want a strong opening paragraph; a release that answers the five "w" questions of reporting – who, what, where, when and why; and a subject or angle as exciting to readers as it is to you.
Locate local mediaSend your press release to radio, television, magazines and daily and weekly newspapers within 50 miles of your location.
Get it out there and see thousands of samplesIf doing it yourself seems daunting, use a distribution company. In this case, size matters because the big boys have enough knowledge and cachet to give your message the best shot at being noticed. Your company doesn't have to be huge to use one of these – they offer regional services.
Get Press Release Preparation HelpHowever you distribute it, polishing your press release is important. Professional help can give your press release sparkle and optimize its visibility to Web search engines.
- The jury is out on whether to follow up a press release with a phone call. Some editors welcome calls, but others don't.
- Fax is the least-effective way to send a release. In a newsroom, departments typically share fax machines, and your fax may not get to the right person.
- Don't expect your press release to be printed verbatim. Most newspapers use releases as background, and reporters call or visit to write their own stories.
- Be sure your press release includes a name and phone number to call for more information.
- Don't wait until the last minute. Sending out the announcement at least a couple of weeks before the event is wise.