You think your company news is a big deal but will an editor feel the same way?
Getting your press release published for free online in a newspaper or other media isn’t a sure thing. The decision to print or delete business news often pivots on the value placed on it by an editor or editorial team.
Press releases are excellent branding tools for businesses. They are low-cost methods of increasing exposure in a very positive way. Writing a great news release and following the proper procedures for submission can boost a company’s reputation and image.
A failed attempt at getting your company news shared is time and opportunity wasted. Knowing exactly what editors want and need makes it easier to get the publicity you’re seeking.
An editor’s guide to writing company press releases
It’s helpful to have a seasoned writer on your staff to create a powerful press release. But even a rookie copywriter can get the job done by following a few editor-approved tips:
- Place the date, the name of the spokesperson and contact information at the top of the press release. Sounds simple but you’d be surprised how often this crucial information is missing.
- Get to the meat of the story in the first sentence. If someone received an award or you’re about to celebrate your 25th anniversary, say it without all the fluff. Your reason for writing the press release should be immediately known.
- Include a few quotes from a top company official or two — preferably a CEO or president — in your announcement. It gives your news credibility. A savvy editor may even consider writing a full story since you’ve done the interview for them.
- Make your news relevant to readers. Explain how your new dental equipment will repair implants in one visit, not two. Discuss how your renovated showroom helps homeowners visualize their planned renovation. Less about you, more about them.
- Use content writing assistants such as Grammarly or Hemingway to automatically proofread and edit your press release as you type. Most of these programs can’t be adapted to AP style, which is what most media use. But they can also keep you from embarrassing yourself with misspelled words or incorrect grammar.
- Write short sentences and use less than four in each paragraph. Use subtitles or subheads to organize your text. This allows readers to quickly find the sections they want to read. It also helps guide readers to the end of the press release
Bonus tips to get press releases published
You’ve got your press release written. Now what? Go the extra mile to increase your odds and reap the full benefits of a published press release:
Share your brand. Give the media outlet access to your company logo and include a paragraph or two about your business. Supply basic information such as when you were founded, your location, how many people you employ and what you do.
A company’s information is often placed at the bottom of published press releases and business stories. If you don’t include it with your submission, the media agency will have to contact you, or worse, use a source that may not be accurate or flattering.
Time your actions. The best day to send in a press release is Monday, according to research. Most journalists prefer receiving them early in the morning.
Make friends. Find out who handles the media outlet’s business page news. In a small newsroom, it may be the managing editor. However, most newspapers, magazines and radio stations employ a business editor. Address him or her by name when sending your press release.
Leave a positive comment on social media about a recently published business article and tag the writer, if possible. It all helps.
Be patient, yet wise. Contact the media if they haven’t responded within a week after you submitted your press release. Don’t get pushy; keep your tone helpful. Ask if there is anything else they need and confirm your intention to share the article on social media when published.
Don’t be a pest. You can overdo a good thing and damage future chances of getting your news published by submitting too often. Be selective about the news you share; not everything you do is important or relevant to the general public.
To wrap it up …
Today’s newsroom is much different than it was just a decade ago. Staffing has shrunk by more than 25 percent since 2008. Journalists have less time to investigate or pursue stories. A well-written press release with every “who, what, where and when” answered is like a gift to a busy news staff.
Use these tips, follow the procedures outlined by your media source and you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting your company press release published.