Almost every cash flow business has a noteworthy story to tell via press releases. The Columbia Journalism Review recently surveyed an issue of The Wall Street Journal and determined that 111 stories were taken from press releases.
Earning publicity through press releases offers a definite advantage over advertising: When media makes claims on your behalf, you gain credibility with potential and current customers. With advertising, on the other hand, your customers realize that you paid to make claims about service, prices or expertise.
Here are five strategies to help you successfully write and place press releases:
1. Capture a Newsworthy Angle. What can you say about your business that competitors can’t say about theirs? Have you just bought an impressive note? Will you be sponsoring an event? Are you launching something new or reinventing a new way to buy cash flows? Each day, noteworthy information like this puts small businesses in the limelight.
The key to getting your press release placed is to make the copy sound like, news, not like an advertisement. Try to associate your note business with upcoming holidays, public service projects or current events. You can get lots of free exposure because the media needs fresh information each day. Brokers that hold events or get involved with charities and community organizations are ones that the media covers.
2. Send the Release to the Right Media. Before the advent of online press release distribution, you had to find suitable journals and newspapers to contact. Now, just go to PRWeb, follow their guidelines, and let them do the heavy lifting.
3. Give Editors What They Want. Once your release lands in an editor’s hand, it only has 15 to 30 seconds to catch his or her attention. Editors are bombarded with releases and therefore can afford to be choosy. A clearly written, typed, double spaced release that has a newsworthy angle and arrives on time is their dream.
In short, the media seeks concise, informative releases that offer solutions to their readers’ problems.
The truth is that editors are more interested in their story than in your note business. The trick is to show them how your note business can make a good story benefiting their readers. Keep these tips in mind: A) Copy the publication’s writing style. Write directly to the magazine’s audience. B) Write well. Poorly written releases or those riddled with typographical errors will never make it past an editor’s desk. C) Tone down the sales language. D) Use testimonials, experts’ quotes and statistics to back up your claims.
4. Time the Press Release. Be organized and get your release out in plenty of time for a publication’s deadline. Send releases two to four months before the publication date of a magazine, and one to two weeks before the publication date of a newspaper.
5. Talk to Editors and Reporters. Get your press relations in order. Before the reporter calls in response to your press release, it’s important to know what you want to convey. Most reporters will be writing the story as they talk to you. Be prepared to give additional quotes and details. The more specific and anecdotal you are, the more your remarks will be quoted. Did you consider buying a note secured by an ostrich? If so, this will get quoted. It’s important to key in on exactly what the reporter wants, so you can target your answers around the story’s angle. After the story runs, maintain your media relationships. A personal relationship with the media is crucial.
- Visit the Press Release Resource Center at PRWeb, the pioneers of online press releases.
- See this site for free online press releases.
How to Write A Press Release
- On your company letterhead, type FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE in the upper left corner if you’d like the information printed right away. If you’re sending the release in advanced of the date you would like it reported, write FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 (or whatever date you want to information to be published.) Below that, state a ‘kill date’ on which the press release should stop running.
- In the upper right corner, type FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT with your name and telephone number and email address. Don’t forget to list after-hours contact information as well. Many reports work evening and weekends.
- Drop down a few spaces and, in the center, type the headline in CAPS. This is your shot at grabbing the editor’s attentions, so make it punchy and eye-catching. Follow with a few sentences how your news benefits the publication’s readers.
- Skip down four lines and begin the body of the release. Begin with the date line in all CAPS, by giving the city, state and date (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 31, 2010). Then immediately start the body of the release. Make sure to double space, editors need room to write notes.
- Begin with a sentence or two summarizing the most newsworthy information. Remember to answer the five Ws of journalism: who, what, where why and when. Include a supporting quote that appears on later than the third paragraph.
- Try to limit your release to one page. If it runs over, type more at the bottom, center of the page. Start the second page with an abbreviated headline in CAPS and type ‘page 2 of 2.’ When your finish, skip a line or two; then type a centered ‘###,’ which indicates the end of the release.
- If you have additional information that you don’t want published, at the bottom of the release write ‘Note to Editor’. This is the place to indicate that a particular person will be available for interviews on a certain date or that the event you are announcing has good photo opportunities, for example.
Find out more about NoteWorthy…you can email us at info [at] noteworthyusa [dot] com.