STOP! Don’t send that press release (yet)
Public relations as a profession can be traced back to the year 1900 – that’s a long time. Today, thanks to technology, it’s “easier” than ever to find new ways to share an organization’s story or breaking news. Though the way PR pros communicate has changed, one thing remains the same – the value of the good old-fashioned press release.
But, before you open your press release template and start writing, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about whether or not journalists and your target audience alike would be interested in what you have to say. Here are some points to consider:
The difference between news and non-news.
Unless you’re only going to stick the press release on your website, the entire purpose of writing a release is to inform media and your target audience of new developments in the company. Make sure you’re viewing this project through the lens of someone who has no idea about your organization, and that starts with sharing something, well, new.
What is newsworthy?
A new service offering or product
Acquisitions or partnerships
Winning an industry award
Study or survey results that directly and positively impacts your business
Changes in c-level leadership
What isn’t newsworthy?
Personal awards (industry awards that the organization received are okay, but you wouldn’t announce that the HR director received an award)
Trade show attendance
Hot takes on current events that don’t directly relate to your business
A reminder about your existing products or services
When it comes to what isn’t newsworthy, that doesn’t mean that some of the above topics wouldn’t be great for a blog post on your website. It’s just not worth the time and resources that go into writing and sending a press release as it will most likely be glossed over by media, which could make media outreach difficult for your organization in the future.
Three details every press release should have.
If you’ve determined that what you have to share is indeed newsworthy, make sure your press release includes the following three elements:
Did you partner with another organization to grow your business? Did a new study come out that positively impacts your mission? Great! Share that development as soon as possible, not six months later as it has then become “old news.”
Are you inviting the media and the public to attend an event? All details should be easily accessible in the news release including date, time, location, and other relevant details. If you haven’t nailed down a venue yet, do not list that as “to be determined” in the release. Make sure all the information as it pertains to your announcement is readily available to whomever reads it.
3. Have a purpose
The general rule of thumb is that a press release should be no longer than one page, and that includes the company boilerplate. At best, journalists are skimming your email to find the information they need to write a story, and so you don’t want to make it harder for them to gather what your press release is actually about. This reminds me of a somewhat-uncouth saying in the military: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid). Seriously though, keep it simple and stick to the pertinent details so that your news shines through.
If you’re interested in learning about what happens next and need tips on how to pitch print media, we’ve got you covered.
Need help writing a press release, getting earned media, or developing a PR strategy? Learn how K.E.Baker Marketing can help you tell your story – schedule your free consultation today.