Did your last press release really stand out? Did it get the exposure you wanted? Did your media notification get through?
When preparing any communication, and in particular a press release, you really do need to be sure to grab attention. Forget these key points and your story will not get noticed.
Journalists have seen it all before. Be fresh! Don’t revamp an old story and just hope it will break through. If the story is not really new, then go back and think again. Is there a new angle to consider? What’s the news value for your intended audience? Try to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes. Is this a story with appeal or interest to their viewers or readers? Is it the right time? Maybe it would be better to wait a few weeks or more and release news that is really news to attract the attention you are looking for. Choosing the right story at the right time is key.
There is a person out there to interest, so know what they are looking for. You might be lucky enough to have a story that is so outstanding that anyone receiving it will jump at the chance to write it up, contact you for an interview and promote. It is much more likely that you’ll have to work harder than that to get noticed. Chances are your story will be one of hundreds that day on a similar topic. So work out first which journalists or target groups will see your story as part of their agenda. Then get to know them by building a relationship. Make contact, tell them about your story. The more they understand, the more likely they are to run with it. They’ll remember you the next time you have something to say.
Make it engaging and don’t bury the real story in boring detail. Make it easy. Read your first paragraph – if it doesn’t contain the real news – the success story, new product or location – chances are you’re journalist will hit the delete button. Be conscious when writing the body of the release, not to be too generic or long-winded. Get to the point. Explain succinctly why your news is important to the audience and what the benefits are. If your release is full of generalizations who is really going to be interested?
Not all journalists are the same. You need to perfect your pitch and delivery.This is especially true if you are trying to get your story out across borders. For a start, they may not all be in the same place, speak the same language or share the same culture. Their working day may start before or after yours. So don’t send out your press release, or a tweet to promote it, at the same time for everyone. You may also need to tailor the message, change the tone or the heading.
Keep it simple. Sophisticated language may read great and keep the CEO happy, or the technical team may love all the buzzwords and jargon. But clever language isn’t clever at all unless everyone understands what you are talking about. Resist the temptation to impress the internal audience or to succumb to all their requests. Instead, concentrate on clearly explaining your ideas to others. And never forget that those you are targeting will have so many other ideas in their heads when your message comes into their world.
Remember some of these simple ideas next time you are preparing a press release, your efforts will be rewarded.