Press releases can be a great way to get your brand, product and company coverage in the local, national and international press. However, journalists are flooded with releases every day and that means you need to work hard to make sure yours stands out from the crowd and doesn't end up being deleted straightaway.
Here are five tips to help you write perfect press releases.
Identify your angle and lead with it
Journalists don't have time to read through an entire press release to find out what you have to tell them, so you need to identify why your story is important and then highlight that in the headline and first paragraph of your release.
If you've invented a revolutionary new product that will make life easier for people, say that straight away. The headline "Company X Launches New Product" is a turn off, but "Company X will help thousands save on fuel bills" is a real winner.
Remember - journalists are interested in engaging their audience so you need to show them that your story will help them do that. Your press release should grab a reader's attention every bit as much as the articles that are written off the back of it.
Use targeted distribution
It's tempting to fire a press release off to as many journalists as possible, but this scatter gun approach will undoubtedly do more harm than good. If you send releases to journalists who have no interest in covering your story, the best case scenario is that you'll be ignored. The worst case is they'll bad mouth your company to co-workers who might be interested in covering it.
If your email hits someone's inbox and they can see you've sent it to hundreds of others at the same time, they'll think you're spamming them and no one likes spammers.
Target specific journalists at specific publications and include a personalised greeting when you send it over. Even if they're not interested in that particular story, you can build a relationship that could get you coverage in future.
Be human, be contactable
Although many journalists are happy to write copy straight off the back of a press release, the best of the best will prefer to get their own take on things. That means if the release doesn't feature contact details for a real human being to whom the report can speak, you're probably going to miss out on some great coverage.
It doesn't take much just a little line such as "for further details or to arrange an interview with [CEOs name] contact [spokesperson's name] on [contact telephone number]".
Being available for follow ups is just as important as getting the release spot on in the first place.
Only use releases for real news
Aside from one or two giants such as Apple and Facebook, journalists and the public are only interested in businesses when they're doing something remarkable. That means there's no point in sending out a press release every time your CEO sneezes.
If you're sending out press releases when you don't have anything to say, the chances are they're heading straight into the delete folder. That means when you do have important news, you're less likely to get top-quality coverage.
Don't use press releases to build links
If you think you can get away with stuffing online press releases with exact match anchor text and followed links and then shoot up the rankings because of it, you need to think again. Google is taking steps to clamp down on this sort of thing, and besides this kind of move will dilute your brand in the eyes of journalists, many of whom become frustrated by having these kinds of junk releases getting in the way of real news.
Besides, if you've followed the advice above then you should find you're getting mentions and links from high-quality news outlets and those will offer far more value than the ones you get from spammy releases.
In fact, they should be some of the best links and brand mentions you get from anywhere.
Note: Content provided by Will Stevens of domain name registrar 123-reg.co.uk. Will is a qualified journalist and covers a range of marketing and PR topics including outreach and social media.