Master how to write a press release and obtain the media coverage you need this 2020
Written by Angel Mora
At this point, I think we all agree that what defines a company’s path to success or total failure is media management. However, one of the biggest obstacles for brand leaders when it comes to establishing media links is to write a press release that opens the door to a continuous presence in the press.
This detail has given rise to a bombardment of “miracle guides” directed at inexperienced entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them — with a few exceptions — are a fiasco, and the data backs it up:
At least 51.3% of startups fail in their first 6 months, according to the US Census Bureau.
The brands that survive are those that followed professional advice and conquered a relevant space in the media.
That’s why this time I’m coming to you from brand leader to brand leader If you’ve got this far, it means you’re engaged in scrutinizing the hush-hush of press coverage. Fortunately, in today’s article, I’m here to help you.
Why do you need to send a press release?
Ever since the appearance of the media and later the advertising industry, press releases served entrepreneurs in need of publicizing specific actions and projects carried by their companies.
Currently, this type of format has reached a new level of relevance, combining different tactical advantages among which I want to highlight three:
- Contributing to the positioning of offers in search engines.
- Stimulating web traffic towards online domains.
- Featuring a chosen narrative intended to benefit the company.
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Read the room
The reputation and future of industries all over the world are at stake meanwhile the pace of press coverage has become more and more dizzying, and so have the priorities of media outlets. Nowadays entrepreneurs witness an endless parade of buzzing information, events, news grabbing headlines, hashtags ultimately influencing the decision making of society as a whole.
If you’re planning on involving press releases in your marketing plan, follow a fundamental premise: No one believes in this project, product, or service more than you do; so you better be willing to do what it takes for everybody to see it through your eyes.
Naturally, issuing a press release and getting the necessary visibility to conquer your place in the media requires more than just asking to be featured. It entails identifying which group you are going to target and which one represents more meaningful benefits.
According to Statista, In the U.S more than 90% of adult Internet users turn to Web and social media news platforms to find out about events.
When it’s the right time to distribute a press release? Once you and your team believe to have recognized a narrative of journalistic interest capable of working as a promotional vehicle for the brand.
It should be noted that these goals must respond to needs beyond mere sales, since being featured in a medium with a solid reputation — following the standards held by your audience — can provide much more interesting and precious values during 2020’s e-commerce buzz where information is currency stream.
Regardless of your approach (amassing a greater number of followers, placing yourself at the top of the search engine, obtaining the support of experts, becoming an industry reference), having the access to journalists as well as their contact information sure helps. But what if you’re starting from scratch?
The foundations of PR strategies
Before even taking the first step to write a press release, don’t forget that the digital ecosystem is a spectrum with infinite possibilities. Therefore, for positioning the company within the right market range you have to find out which are the reference and authority places that properly meet your offer and not the competition’s.
This suggests that you must have covered your bases, such as:
- Generating a database: You will identify the strongest links in the media according to numbers, and then set contact actions by sequence.
- Specify primary objectives: Make sure your press is not going to land in the spam section by refining the search parameters in compliance with the topics the medium deal with. The choice here is whether to reach the media’s platform, the editor, or the journalist — which depends solely on your brand’s image.
Reckon that carrying out this comparison doesn’t compel you to exploit all the resources available on the Internet in this first contact action; but instead, to have what is most useful thinking in context, moment, and in the long term.
If you are worried about how are you going to find the right journalists in the first place, go to the web footer (“contacts” section). There you will usually find contact lists or corporate emails.
That is, dedicate yourself to analyzing their digital fingerprint until you can dissect the tone they prefer (posts, comments, likes, or retweets).
The main advantages of this method can be broken down in three main ones:
- Journalists will be more likely to feel interested and publish it.
- You will get a footprint on how to adapt each press release.
- You will be more likely to establish lasting and beneficial relationships in the future for your company.
Choose a single route if it is the journalist if you are a freelancer, and another for the medium in which you work if it is the platform that interests you. You can even create a one-on-one experience; sent them a direct message as a previous contact for the press release through networks like Linkedin.
After applying the previous steps, you can start working on the text.
The basic 5-point checklist for issuing press releases in 2020
As you already know, news-telling formats everywhere usually adhere to the same system: Titling elements (title, headline, and subtitles), lead (entry paragraph), body text (information development), and the self-explanatory contact details — all in a standard typeface.
However, something that can’t be as easily recognized is that in order to write a press release, you must distribute the data according to their level of relevance following one quintessential PR formula:
Press Release = Highly relevant information + complementary data + Information of moderate relevance.
It is no coincidence that the formula mirrors the ultimate storytelling structure (setup, confrontation, and resolution) since you must convey a message powerful enough to grasp the attention of anyone who crosses their path with it. Let’s take a closer look at each of the formal elements:
Headline: Start with a banger
Apart from the mandatory “press release” segment, this one represents the biggest challenge in redacting this document. If the journalists like the story being suggested, they will continue reading; otherwise all your effort will end up in the trash.
As a tip-off, a great headline condenses the “core plot” of the note that precedes it, therefore it must draw the attention organically, without falling in advertising terrain.
44% of journalists consider the press release as the most effective method for information delivery, as stated by Hubspot.
For example, here At Media Coverage, our team studies every word and makes sure the title is comprised of a concise sentence less than 10 bold words; evoking professionalism, innovation, and creativity. In the case of events the featured context involves a numerical achievement, I suggest approximating the figures.
Try doing several drafts or ask your team of copywriters to pitch you different options, and then define which headline does the job. Additionally, keep in mind that it may take some time to find it, so stay calm and above all: maintain a sober tone.
Lead: The breakdown
Of course, what interests journalists and the platform they’re on is having a fresh and relevant story to drive web traffic towards the site. Hence, this introductory paragraph guides them to find the “hints” from the previous segment, stimulating new needs; such as:
- Who is the press release about? From shedding the light on a social issue your company is building an initiative around, to announcing fundraising for the launch of a new product.
- Why is it an important topic? Here the text is supposed to prove the role of this news event in the world.
Body of text: Define the outcome
According to what’s been stated in the past formula, the body of the text provides all the additional details from the most important to the least — avoiding the use of filler data.
Following provided in the previous point, this section proposes:
- What are the intricacies of the news? In this section, you can discuss the key elements of the event or circumstance.
- Where is this event taking place? Every story has both origin and space. Therefore yours shouldn’t be different.
As a complement, it is perfectly valid to include personal points of view as well as official statements from your company to maintain attention to important data. The goal is to build trust and nurture your credibility as an entrepreneur which is expected to influence your content marketing strategies in the long-run.
Boilerplate: Your brand identity
This is the last content section of the press release, where you should briefly recount the story of your company, making clear its basic foundations and vision. Some brands simply copy the “About Us” section of their Website, but my advice is to keep it as simple and original as possible.
The most innovative press releases summarize their boilerplate with a maximum length of 8 lines. Although this is not a strict rule, it should be enough to convey what’s needed without falling into blatant promotion practices. That is the idea, foundation, mission, and intentions.
Information Contact: Invitation
Next, having the contact data (names, titles, email, website, and telephone numbers) helping the person receiving the text to reach out, a step that usually precedes a more in-depth conversation on the subject of the press release.
By now it only remains to do a double check to confirm that all the information was properly compelled to proceed and send it. On this particular, the email should include a subject as a preamble, the body of the email with a summary of the content of the attached file as well as complimentary material.
When is the perfect time to send a press release? The most popular guidelines indicate that a press release will be better received on calendar dates, or after a press conference – it may be scheduled if the story links to a world event.
This 5-step process also involves performing follow-up tasks. Make sure you’re steadily checking your inbox to see if any of the journalists wish to follow-up, and offer a response to them.
Extra: After sending the corresponding email thanking receivers as well as posting the accounts of news organizations who approved the press release, dedicate yourself to collecting the data obtained from the performance analysis and take them into account to update the following promotional campaigns. You can also automate this process; right now there are lots of tools for measuring; configure them according to the KPIs that most interest you.
Fortunately, if you have taken my advice into account, you will have gotten your story published. Here it is very important to check the reception of users on the Internet, the number of impressions, and reactions.
I hope that this information has not only been very useful but that you have also enjoyed it enough to share it with your colleagues.
Along with what has been suggested at the beginning of the article, as an entrepreneur, you should be able to take advantage of all the benefits that writing a press release means in the middle of a social and economic climate that moves towards the news.
Remember that to reinforce or carry out the writing of the press release as well as those to come, and focus on other aspects of your marketing plan, you can delegate functions.
This is our area of expertise, we also have very strong links with a long list of mediums that you may be interested in getting featured at; giving a definitive boost to your brand. For more information, go to our pricing section where you will learn about our media package.