A press release is a great way to get exposure for your business in the local media, to get in front of thousands of people and to share good news, all for free! There’s no guarantee that your story will be picked up, though, so there are ways to increase your chances. You could ask a PR agency to submit it for you, but you can send it directly to the news or business desk yourself, with a personalised covering note.
Press Release Tips
- Check with the newspaper or radio station what their submission requirements are (most likely via email) and who to address it to.
- Don’t worry too much about a headline – the newspaper will do this for you. Just make it clear what the topic of the press release is.
- Make your press release concise and no longer than a single side of A4. If a journalist wants extra detail they’ll contact you. If you make it too long they’ll lose interest and stop reading. Use short sentences and paragraphs.
- Editors edit from the bottom up, so put all the important information in the first couple of paragraphs – who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Include a photograph if appropriate, for instance if you’ve had a product launch or a charity event.
- Check that names are spelled correctly (surprisingly easy to get wrong!) and you’ve got the right job titles for anyone you mention.
- Supply a quote or two: this can be a couple of lines, and ideally from someone senior or from a happy customer. You can write it on their behalf and ask them to approve it, which is much quicker than waiting for them to send you something.
- Reporters like a story with humour, a twist or something unusual. A triumph over adversity is also popular.
- You can also attract their attention if your story has a strong local angle or talks about helping the community.
- Finish your press release with “ENDS” at the bottom, to make it as clear as possible. This is what the journalist will expect to see.
- Below this, write additional information and supply your contact details, a web address and anything else you think might be helpful. But only add a sentence or two!
- Proofread the press release before you send it off and check you’ve got the name right if you’re sending it to a particular person!
- Newspapers don’t always confirm that they’ll publish your story, so it can be a case of checking the paper daily. If you don’t see your story after two to three weeks, it probably hasn’t been picked up.