Press releases are the tool of some – and enemy of many. Their fundamental purpose is to announce something that is “newsworthy,” a term so subjective it could make your head spin. A better working definition of a press release is an announcement you send to people you hope are interested.
Gone are the days where the press release was the leading source of information. In fact, don’t be surprised if you receive a press release urging you to check out a company’s latest website, blog post, or Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page.
But we now live in the instant notification/gratification age where news goes from gossip, to hard news, to old news in a matter of tweets. What used to require a page of content and quotes is now 140 characters and a link away.
Here are a few ways to keep your press releases relevant, read and out of the recycle bin:
- Identify your audience – The language and tone of your release should be catered to your specific audience. Vagueness can drive even the most dedicated editor to apathy.
- Accurate information – No one will come to your party if you tell them the wrong date and time. Eliminate having to read between the lines and searching for answers as much as possible.
- To quote or not to quote – If used properly, a quote can add depth, relevance and credibility to your release. If used improperly it can make your release a jumbled mess of “he said, she said,” the opposite of credible.
- Timely – A press release is part of a communication plan, meaning you must plan to send out your release. Sending it too late or too early can greatly decrease your chances of being read.
- Length – It’s not the end of the world if your release happens to be longer than normal but please keep in mind the majority of them will be read on an electronic device. Scrolling makes people tired.
- Bold and Beautiful – Don’t be afraid to bold the words or sentences that are the most important. Not only are you guiding your reader, you’re saving them some time as well. It’s a win/win situation.
- Make new friends – If your release isn’t getting the love (and press) it deserves, find new places to send it. The world is no longer paper-based so use your online resources as much as possible. Be visible.
These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you are feeling worthy of making some news.