To be successful, a business has to advertise. One of the best ways to get advertising, and for free no less, is to have your business, product or service get publicity in a news story. Press releases are the standard way to get you noticed by the press but if they are written the wrong way, they may end up in a wastebasket instead.
- Write a good headline. A press release needs a good headline to catch the reader's attention. The headline does not necessarily have to be about the product you are plugging, but it should be related somehow. If the new product is a new and improved fly swatter, the headline could say something about the diseases that flies carry or that there are several ways to get rid of flies in a home. If the product name is in the headline, it will look like just another ad to be ignored.
- Find a relevant angle. A press release is something that will be sent to the media, so it needs to be written in a way that will attract their attention. A press release that is just a block of text about how great a person or product is will be thrown away. I have seen many a press release thrown into the trash after an editor read it and decided it was just PR propaganda. The media feeds on news and useful information--not promoting you and your business. To get the attention you need, you have to find a relevant angle that would make a good story.
- Add in your public relations information. Write the press release with the story angle in mind, adding the PR elements to back up the story, rather than the other way around. A press release about the fly swatter should start out with a few paragraphs about the fly problem and diseases that flies cause. Then it should be pointed out that a good remedy for flies would be the amazing new fly swatter by Acme.
- Make your press release similar to a news story in style. If your press release is written more like a news story and less like an ad, it has a chance of actually running as is in the newspaper. If not, there is still a better chance of the story idea being pursued and the fly swatter inventor being interviewed for more information. Smaller newspapers tend more often to print press releases without editing them while larger papers generally want all of their stories to be written in-house.
- Keep at it. If you sent a press release and have heard nothing, send it to a different paper, or a TV station or a regional paper. If you hear nothing still, rework the release with a new story angle and try it again. Chances are that if the release is well-written and has information that can actually lead to a news story, it will be picked up by someone.