Writing a press release for media coverage is my favorite way to get your name out there and get your story, quote, or whatever else you have for reporters.
Of course, this is not always an option for those with tight deadlines. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do in your own time that will get you the media coverage you need and deserve.
I’ve worked with news agencies around the country to get our story in front of media outlets in 48 hours or less, usually with just an email and phone call.
Nowadays, you can send press releases to an email address that doesn’t cost you anything (and won’t show up on Google or your website). Other great options are through your existing connections and industry forums.
Many news outlets pay to have reporters reach out to you, and you can also see what stories are already being worked on for your industry.
This article will teach you how to write a press release that gets picked up by major news outlets for coverage so you can get the word out about your products, services, or anything else you may have going on.
The first thing you’ll want to do is read through your email to see if there is anything that you can use to help start your press release.
Look for a full subject line that tells a little about what you do, such as: “Information to assist you in using a new Lifeguard Knee Stabilizer while kayaking.” Look for the message body that gives enough information that the reporter can contact you to see what you are doing.
If you want media coverage, you’ll want to tell them about the product you are selling.
Figure out if the reporter has already done a piece on your area of expertise. Ask if they are planning on doing more on your company, the technology, the procedure, the client, etc.
If they are planning on doing another article on kayaking, they will want to talk about proper swim training and techniques and how to protect your knee when you fall.
Remember to keep it short (no more than 500 words) and describe the product or service very concisely. Also, include no more than five high-quality photos.
The more you say about what your product does, the less likely a reporter will take it on.
If you send out information for a press release that you created in-house, you need to review that before sending it out. Remember that the reporter may contact you with questions, and your emails will get lost in a sea of emails.
Once you have your press release all ready to go, it’s best to send it out right away to make sure it gets your pitch in.
If you are getting feedback on a press release that you previously sent, review it again. Include any feedback that you received on it, such as:
The editor wanted more information on using the product, but the language was too complex and filled with technical terms. We’ll need to refine it for the next round of stories.
Make sure that you indicate the rate that you are going to charge to write the story. You don’t want to be too expensive because that could discourage the reporter from running the story.
Remember to include the website you used to send out the information and the press release, and the reporter's contact information. It is best to send the press release to reporters to their email addresses, but they may have websites you need to use.
Note: Some guidelines are different for people who work at small or independent magazines, so be sure to check that before sending the press release out.
Most of the time, you don’t even have to write your own copy. Many companies outsource their copywriting to freelancers.
So, if you are about to be contacted by a reporter, send them your press release to get a feel for the kinds of questions they might have. Make sure to include the press release in the email body, along with a brief description of what you do and how they can contact you for a story.
If you send it to people who work at small or independent magazines, they may ask you for more information in your initial email.
Sometimes you want to write the copy in your own words. For example, you might have an idea for a story that involves a difficult technical problem.
You might not be familiar with that problem, but you have an idea of how to solve it. When you are on the phone talking with a reporter, it is easier to write down a copy that you think they might like.
Think about your own experience when using the product or service or the time when it helped you solve a problem you were having.
Remember that reporters are busy. You want to be as concise as possible when describing your product, and you also want to avoid marketing-speak.
This is another reason to include your press release as a template in your email. This way, you have one ready-to-go document that you can send out whenever you need to.
It can be tempting to make small talk with a reporter when you are on the phone to pitch your story. You want to make sure that they understand that you are not just a business.
You are an independent business person that has created your own product or service, and you want to talk about how it can help people. But you don’t want to talk about yourself too much.
In general, you should avoid talking about yourself when pitching a story. You are pitching your product or service, so you want to sell it to the reporter.
You want to tell the reporter how you came up with the idea and how it can help people.
It is fine to tell the reporter what your company does. When you are telling someone about your business, you should be selling it.
You want the reporter to see your product or service as the best in its category.
Your readers want to know that you will give them what they are looking for and that you are a person who will get them what they want. This means that it is best to steer clear of talking about yourself too much unless you describe something about your company or your product or service that you think will interest the reporter.
The key to an effective press release is building interest. Don't just explain who you are but what your brand can do for others and how it can benefit them.
Give clear answers to the questions that the media and the public want to be answered. Explain your product or service and get to the heart of how it solves problems.
Add a human element and include the people you're making products for.
Key messages: Tell your story using one sentence for each of your key benefits and statements. Make sure that you include the message, benefit, and purpose.
Tell your story using one sentence for each of your key benefits and statements. Make sure that you include the message, benefit, and purpose.
Share current trends.
To get the story out to the press promptly, you need to identify what's happening right now that you can use in your press release, pitch, or interview. Look for trends or hot topics and feature those in your story.
Showcase your social media. Build awareness and show how your company or product interacts with the latest technologies.
Add graphics, videos, and links to your social media profiles or website.
Show the media what you are really about. Since reporters and editors want a unique perspective, offer to do a media interview if they cannot accommodate you.
With these steps, you can turn your press release into a great press story that leaves a lasting impression on the media.