So You’re Planning a Press Release?

At Inbound we’re always keen to diversify the marketing services we can offer. As part of that, we now write and distribute client press releases.

We’ve had some fantastic success, with our articles appearing on national media websites as well as niche, industry-specific outlets. Needless to say, some of our press releases have been more eagerly published than others – and that’s okay, as long as we take the lessons and use them to streamline our future efforts.

Of course, PR is a very different process depending on the type of publications you want to target (national, local, etc). But no matter what else, you should start with a solid plan. Here are my top 3 PR planning tips for newbies.

  1. Why should anyone care?

    Journalists receive thousands of emails every day from people with a ‘story’. The fact that you now offer your product in a new colour is not a story (at least, not to the average reader). But to your local newspaper, the fact that your business is running workshops for school children, raising money for charity or leading the crusade against global warming might be a story. If you only ask yourself one question when planning a press release, it should be “why should anyone care?”

    For a story to make the national media, it has to have substance. Our clients are experts in their different industries, meaning that they often have access to unique, interesting data. Surveys, reports and statistics add credibility to any article and provide a natural segue for us to quote you as an authority in your field (with a link to your site).

  2. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver

    When it comes to linking, journalists can spot SEO a mile away. It isn’t enough simply to drop a link into your article; it should always add value to the content.

    The best links offer your visitors exactly what they want / expect to find when they click through – and more. Your site is the place to publish your news, surveys and reports in full; your press release is the place to leverage this content.

    So if your press release mentions your recent survey, publish the survey in full on your site and use an anchor text in the press release such as ‘[Company Name]’s 2013 survey’.

  3. The “Daily Mail headline”

    Too often, the headline of an article is an afterthought hastily tacked on at the end – when in fact coming up with a great headline is half the battle! When the press release lands in your recipient’s inbox, if the headline sends them to sleep, they’ll get no further than that – even if the rest of the article is great (so no pressure…)!

  4. No matter what you think of Mail Online, their online engagement stats speak for themselves. The 40 minutes each visitor spends on site per month (higher than any other news provider) is a testament to their (deceptive) headlines: BABY BORN WITH THREE HEADS (you know it isn’t possible, but you read anyway – and then onto the next nonsense story). When writing your press release, boost your open rate by following the rule of the Daily Mail headline.

    When marketers and journalists work together, each making the other’s life easier, then the results can be powerful. The trick is coming up with content that serves both your interests and ultimately earns the client the publicity they deserve.

    I hope you find these tips useful. Fortunately, the steepest part of any learning curve is always at the start. Building on our modest success so far we are looking forward to harnessing the full power of the press for our clients. More tips to follow!