A press release most often is sharing an announcement or commentary on a topic that is of community interest; in other words, “newsworthy.”
A press release is written about or around a current event or a topic that is of great interest to the public or a business sector and can pave the way for sales of a product. Microsoft®, for example, strategically uses press releases and announcements when a new version of software is about to be released. Because many computer users use Microsoft® products in their work and personal lives, the company’s press releases are newsworthy.
Unlike articles written for magazines or websites, press releases are not just about what a company offers. In fact, it is not until one reads the end of the release that it is discovered who the author was and how to get more information.
Press Releases are also FREE advertising. The trick to getting newspaper and television coverage is by making what your business offers of interest to people in the present time.
Note: If your press release does not follow the guidelines in this article, your free press release will be seen as merchant advertising and will be treated and charged for as such.
Finding the “Hook” for your Business’ Free Press Release
Finding the relevancy of your products or services to a topic of current interest is called a “hook.” Your business products and services need to “hook on to” an event or discussion of importance.
If your business serves just your regional area, you need to find a topic of great interest in your local community. If your business serves customers on a national or international, the topics have a wider range from which to choose.
For example, let’s say that your business sells communication equipment such as CB or HAM gear. Now let’s suppose a serious earthquake happened in another area or country and those areas had lost methods of communication. Add to that, perhaps your own area is earthquake-prone.
You could devise an emergency communication program and offer free communication in case of a serious earthquake in your own community. In your press release, you would explain who, what, where, why and how your communication system would work for people in your immediate community.
This type of press release would be termed a, “Human Interest” story. Because your business is offering a service to the community, it would be seen as informational to help ease worry as well as commendable on the part of your business in offering a free service.
Even if such an event would not take place, your customer base would grow simply because of the advertising you gained for your humanitarian efforts; raising the trust level for your products and services in the area.
Does your Business Have a Historical Tie?
Community history is always newsworthy. Does your business operate out of a historical home? If so, who was the family and what did they do in the community during the “good old days?”
Is your business family owned? Did you have ancestors who settled in the area? What was it like during those days? Do you have photographs you can share?
Is your business marking an anniversary of being in business for over 10 years? Is there someone in your employ who has an interesting background and story to tell?
In general, people like to read about people. Stories about people and history are always of human interest and are interesting topics to write about.
Who Writes the Press Release and How to Submit One
Any good writer can write a press release, especially if the writer has had experience with writing for the press.
If there is a story to tell but you know of no one to write it, call a newspaper and find out who you need to speak to about your press release. Most newspaper offices have different departments; you would not want your free press release on emergency communications in the “Garden” section.
At this point, you can do one of two things:
- Go for it. Submit your completed press release by fax, mail, or hand-delivery. Be sure to include any photos as well as the contact information for you and any other people mentioned in the article who are available for interview.
- Submit a query. Send a letter to the editor or reporter about the press release you would like to do. Many times, especially if the story is particularly newsworthy, a reporter will come out to interview you and write the story themselves. Again, have any photos on hand as well as the contact information of any other people who can be interviewed.
You can also submit completed press releases through a number of press release companies on the internet, although the chances of your releases being printed for free (without any fees whatsoever) are greatly diminished.
Important Points to Remember when Writing and Submitting Press Releases:
- A press release is not meant to sell your business’ products and/or services.
- READ the newspapers or publications before you submit a press release.
- Find out the appropriate editor or reporter for the department you are appealing to.
- Have photos and a contact list of other people who can be interviewed.
- ALWAYS thank the press outlet for publishing your press release.