It’s no secret that I strongly believe copy (the written part of any marketing material) is the secret to sales success. There are specific formulas that apply to all marketing efforts and they can roll over into publicity, too. At the same time there is a fine line between promotional copywriting and writing for press releases or news releases.
The main objective of press releases is to share your news. By definition, news is previously unknown information. So, your job is to share information about your business accomplishments that educate and alert the media or your core market about something NEW, timely, relevant and of value.
It’s also important to know that news releases aren’t just for the media anymore. You can post them to your blog, distribute to free press release sites and use them as sales tools. However, you don’t want your press release itself to be “salesy”. Your release should be written in Associated Press style and should not have hyped up words. The point of your press release is to provide valuable information that will promote thought, action and possibly generate media coverage depending on your press release strategy. It’s important to understand that there is a fine line between your promotional materials and your press releases. While you can use a press release as a sales tool, you should not use traditional ‘sales’ language in your release because it will be viewed as hype and quickly end up in the trash (virtually and literally depending on distribution channels).
If you are interested in media attention you need to follow proper formatting and protocol. When crafted properly, news releases (distributed both online and offline) can help you gain credibility, drive traffic to your website and increase your chances of getting media publicity. Press releases should be a regular part of your promotional plan. As such, it’s important to know that releases need to be written in a different style than traditional web copy, sales letters or any other copy for that matter.
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your press releases:
1. Know your strategy before you write your release. (Do you want to generate online traffic or gain traditional media exposure?)
2. Follow the correct press release format to keep your business reputation in tact
3. Be clear on the difference between copywriting and writing a press release
4. Make sure you are delivering news and not a sales pitch
5. Be sure to distribute your release to the appropriate channels (i.e. if you’re contacting main stream media have the appropriate contact information for the person that covers that beat)
By following these simple tips you’ll be better prepared to share your news with the world.
Take a moment to review your news release efforts today. What have you done that is newsworthy? Are news releases a regular part of your plan to share your gifts with the world?