Everything that happens with your business doesn’t deserve a spotlight. But, of course, some news does warrant a press release. Before writing and distributing a press (also called news or media) release, ask the following:
- Is my news actually newsworthy?
Is your information interesting, topical, notable and/or significant? Simply put, who cares? What would interest the media in your community or your industry? Does the information help your clients and customers? Does this news promote your brand? Make sure you have a clear audience and call-to-action in mind before writing a release. Remember to use spell check and Grammarly to craft a concise and compelling narrative and double-check that you’ve included the who, what, where, when, why, and how (it’s surprising how many releases are missing something crucial!). Include hyperlinks to supporting web materials, as well as photos, videos, and interview opportunities.
- Does my news have a negative angle?
Once a press release is written, distributed, and published, there is no turning back. Your narrative is in the hands of reporters, editors, influencers, and more. Make sure you’ve considered your story from all angles before releasing it. Talk to your team to see if there is potentially hidden negative aspects waiting for a reporter to investigate and highlight. A press release about a new investor might focus attention on questionable previous business dealings. Make sure you thoroughly vet the personalities and news you are announcing.
- Am I prepared for an interview on this topic?
Your press release will hopefully attract the right attention. If you are contacted for a follow-up interview, will you be ready to discuss the news in real-time? Concurrent with the release distribution, also start practicing, researching, and planning for the featured topic. Attend a media training course or workshop offered by a public relations professional. Quality classes include tips on how to speak effectively, dress, and present yourself, as well as how to create and reference a talking points outline.
- Where should I send my press release?
Create a shortlist of outlets and publications that would be interested in running your story. Have you heard a similar story like this in print or electronic media? Research reporters who have covered related topics and add them to your list. What news do you personally consume in your industry? Check there too. If you can’t think of at least five sources who would be interested, then go back to question number one and ask again, is this newsworthy? If no one is interested, why bother?
- What is my expected outcome?
Once the release has been distributed, what would you like to happen? Are you looking for the media to attend your upcoming event? Would you like to secure an interview or segment on your local news? Do you want your story to be featured on a national platform? Establishing these goals upfront will set the tone for your press release and determine what should be included. These goals also guide metrics for the success of the launch.