Is It Newsworthy? 7 Questions to Ask Before Deciding to Write a Press Release
The first step in writing an effective news release is to make sure it announces something which is truly newsworthy and is not just an ad or a sales letter in disguise. There are a number of criteria for newsworthiness, so these can be your starting point.
The usual reasons businesses issue a press release
- Quarterly financial statements for the public/shareholders
- Major milestones
- Product launches
- Live events
Issue a press release for each of these types of occasions. It will keep others well-informed and regular press releases will also keep you in the public eye.
For any other press release you are thinking of publishing, consider the following questions:
1-What is your goal in sending out this press release?
Do you want more media pickups, brand reach, traffic, subscribers, sales? Setting the goal at the outset can help you add the right call to action in your press release. For example, if you are announcing a free e-course on what to look for when buying their first home, you would tell them to click on the link to register for the e-course. In this way, you would be able to build your subscriber list.
2-Is your news story or announcement compelling enough for journalists to care about, and want to pass along the information to their audience?
More than 300 press releases are published every day, so yours really needs to stand out.
3-Is it relevant to your target audience?
Be sure you are meeting the needs of both journalists, who are always looking for useful information, and their target audience, which should be yours. If you are in the pet industry, don’t try to publish an article about boats unless it is specifically about how to keep your pets safe while on a boat, with life jackets and so on.
4-Is it timely?
Things run in news cycles. If you are hosting a live event, be sure to publish a release at least a few weeks before in order to stimulate attendance, a few days before in order to remind people that the event is taking place, and a third press release after it has occurred, to report on the high points of the event.
5-Is it shareable?
When planning a press release, think about whether or not it would create a buzz on social media. Think of the example of an ecourse we used above. There will be share buttons on your press release page at your distribution service. Also, make sure you link to your press release via all your social media accounts. In addition, create a media page on your website or blog. Publish all of your press releases at your site as well. Then link to them on the media page using the headline for each press release.
6-Do you have an eye-catching and shareable image to support the press release?
Press releases with images are three times more likely to be picked up by the media than ones without.
7-Could you make a quick video to support the press release?
Press releases with videos also get more attention and are more shareable.