Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How to write a press release

Last week' award was a great boost to me and reading writeups of other winners I soon realised there was an oportunity to get this news out there locally and boost the profile of my business

As small businesses we don't have a PR departments to call upon to help us spread the new and make the most of opportunities so I had to find out how to do it pretty quickly! I've written up a quick How To... so you can do it too!!

How to write a Press Release

Why are you writing it?

Is there a genuine reason you are sending a press release? What has happened? And is it newsworthy?
Have you won an award, hit a milestone, helped local charities. Mostly think about whether it is newsworthy or will just come across as 'someone looking for free advert'?

Wow with a title?

Once you have your idea , it time to think up a title for it. Ultimately the editor / journalist will choose the title for your piece but this gives them them a summary of what your news story is. I read somewhere it should be 11 words or less. Pick the main bits from your story and think in headlines (but steer clear of overly cheesy maybe)
My press release was about recieving a Wow Award from Jacqueline Gold CEO of knickerbox , I came up with
"Top Entrepreneur Wowed by Local Greeting Card Business"

Who will want to read it?

Next identify who might like to hear this news, local community? national? niche? a dog grooming company could send the release to a dog owners magazine,  a product for children could go to a parenting magazine or in a school newsletter. Its about who your target market is and what they read!

What will you write?

Now we're looking at the actual release bit. A good strating place is to read  a few similar news stories within the publication you are submitting too. Many newspapers /magazines have online versions now so finding articles should be quite easy.  Look at the tone and style of writing, it would be a good idea to mirror this.

Your first paragraph should be a brief summary of the story, no more than 50 words. Following paragraphs can expand on the point made in the first one, adding more explanations & information.

Details you might want to include can be

- Who it involves , who would benefit?

 - LilVintage Makes launches new card range for busy school mums. Now mums can save time shopping and buy all their birthhday cards for the year in one easy set.

Here we have said who we are and who will benefit from it.

- What is new?

Longer summer opening  hours mean more time to sociallise for village coffee drinkers. Coffee house will be open until 9pm until September.
Here we have details of new opening hours.

- Where it is happening?

Bath mum  & business owner opens second store in Oxford Street
Here we have mentioned where the person is from and where the event (store opening) will be.

- When will you send it?

Today news is tomorrows fish & chip paper so strike whilst the iron is hot! Send your new as quickly as possible and mark 'For Immediate Release'

- Will they want photos? 

Most publications will want photos to accompany the story, but the editor will not want the photos attached to the initial email enquiry. Firstly select what  high resolution photos you have to accompany the story. Next select what subject matter will be best? A picture of yourself, a picture of your business premises, a photo of your products, a photo from your award ceremony?
Be aware that a photo of only your products may seen as a bit too  advert like. Can you take a photo of yourself in a setting that has your products in the background? e.g. Working in your studio, Behind your stall at a market or wearing that gorgeous necklace from your range?

Here is the photo the editor went for from my selection...

Now you've selected some photos that are ready to send if needed include their descriptions in your press release
Photos available if needed:
Product Shot
Maxine recieving award 
Maxine in studio working on Cards

Now your editor has a choice and can request a photo if desired.

The easiest way to send a press release these days is by email. Most publications will list the editors email , news editor and other editors email addresses. Choose the most suitable one and send off your release! Good Luck!!

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