One of the quickest ways to generate buzz and create interest in your company is by writing an attention-getting press release.
While you want to 'wow' potential customers with a newsworthy announcement, your major target should always be the news editors.
Make their jobs easier, and get published by showing them that you really know how to create a professionally written press release.
1. Create The Headline
Editors want to know how they can help their readers. So state the benefit of your product or service from the very start and be specific - in the headline.
Instead of the somewhat tame "Acme Announces New Consumer Guides", for example, a much more effective headline would be "5 Ways To Save with Acme's New Blue Widget Consumer Guides."
2. Don't Bury the Lead
Be sure to immediately kick off your press release with a sentence that answers all the most important questions regarding your very newsworthy story including the "who, what, where, when and why."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5 Ways To Save with Acme's New Blue Widget Consumer Guides
Chicago, IL July 1, 2010 - Help is on the way today for cash-strapped families as Acme announces the free distribution of money saving consumer guides in retail outlets nationwide.
3. Say It. Then Say It Again.
In the second paragraph, reiterate the benefit to customers by stating how it will make them smarter, richer, better.
Better still, use concrete facts or polls to back up your claims, i.e.,
"The announcement couldn't have come at a better time as an XYZ poll released this week shows a sharp rise in the cost of living for middle class consumers. In response, Acme is..."
4. And I Quote
Another cardinal rule for writing winning press releases is including a quote (or two) from you or a company representative, for example:
"We all know how difficult it is raising a family in the current economic climate," says Acme President Timothy Smith.
"In addition to offering our regular low prices, our new blue widget consumer guides will also help make the lives of our customers that much easier."
5. Make a Bulleted List
If the headline starts with "5 Ways To..." always deliver on the promise. Use an easy-to-read bulleted list:
"Included in the free consumer guides are valuable tips on how to save money in every room in the house, such as:"
1. Money saving tip
2. Money saving tip
3. Money saving tip
4. Money saving tip
5. Money saving tip
6. Wrapping It Up
"Brevity is the soul of wit" said Shakespeare, and that goes for press releases. In short, 500 words is standard for most press releases.
Make your final paragraph a brief re-wording of all that went before (See No.3 - Say It. Then Say It Again.)
Also be sure to include a "call to action", i.e., detailing where your product or service can be bought, or another action you want your customer to take before signing off.
7. But Wait...There's More
Wind it all up by adding the standard 'about us' paragraph, for example:
About Acme Company
"For over 40 years the Chicago based Acme Company has been an industry leader in providing quality consumer products at affordable prices..."
Finally, add your contact info, and if you have an employee on staff who can field questions from the media by phone, add their name as well:
Media Contact: John Jones
Email: [email protected]
Note that the final three "#" symbols remains the traditional way to end a press release. This signals to editorial staff that it's really THE END and there are no more pages to come.