How To Utilize The Modern Press Release
Press releases have been around for more than 100 years, but it is only in the last 5 or so that they have really come into their own as an invaluable marketing tool, provided that those issuing the release follow a few simple rules.
Knowing how best to utilize the modern press release can make all the difference between being ignored, and getting a steady stream of media pickups to help spread the word about a company’s products and services.
What is a press release?
A press release is designed to report important information to journalists and other media representatives, in the hope that they will find it useful enough to pick up the release and report it to their own readers.
Why issue a press release?
There are three main possible goals in issuing a press release:
- Raising awareness of the brand through getting media pickups
- Getting more subscribers
- Making more sales
The first will be the usual goal, but marketers can also manage to get 2 and 3 if they structure their release correctly.
Goal 1 is also easy if the marketer uses a press release distribution service. There are free and paid ones. They are basically a searchable database for busy journalists looking for story ideas.
The trouble is, press releases have become such a popular marketing tool that more than 300 are issued every day in the US alone. In order to get to the top of the tree in your niche or industry, you need to create a modern press release.
Essentials of a modern press release
1-It must be newsworthy
Never issue a press release just for the sake of it. It should be about something your target audience would genuinely be interested in. Examples include:
- A new product launch
- A merger or acquisition
- A live event to be hosted
- A milestone in the business, such as the 10th anniversary
and so on.
2-It must be factual
Stick to the facts and avoid the hype. The last thing anyone wants to read is a sales letter full of boasting.
3-It should be useful
Ideally, there will be some value in taking the time to read it. Fact, figures, and statistics can all help elevate the press release to something beyond just a marketing piece for a company.
4-It should be structured correctly
A press release should be structured in the inverted pyramid style journalists use, with the most important facts (the broad base of the pyramid) at the top and lesser but still important facts at the bottom (the narrow tip of the pyramid).
The press release should also use the 5Ws within the first paragraph or two. The 5Ws are:
Use these as a checklist to make sure no important facts are left out.
6-A call to action
Your call to action will depend on the goal of the press release. Raising awareness is great, but getting a subscriber by sending them to a special URL would be even better. Making a sale of your new product would be best of all.
7-A compelling boilerplate
The boilerplate is a short description of the company issuing the press release that basically tells journalists why they and the press release are worth paying attention to.
A modern press release can be used for a number of marketing purposes, provided it follows the formula and the headline and opening paragraph draw in readers to learn more.