Smart Marketing Basics



Five Fast Tips for Writing Press Releases

In today’s world of fast, instant communication, the effective writing of press releases seems to becoming a lost art!  The new communication tools found in social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, certainly encourage more sharing of information, but  they don’t necessarily encourage thoughtful message strategy before your start writing your latest tweet or post. 

Whenever I  work with small businesses, they easily acknowledge that they should be using press releases to market their small business (see my previous post on this topic), but it is hard for them to get started.  Without an easy-to-follow blueprint or press release template, as well as simple inertia, and then competing demands of running their business, small business marketers can find it hard to make fast progress. 

Here are 5 fast and easy tips for any business manager or entrepreneur that is trying to get started:

1) Templates:  Don’t reinvent the wheel, or try to become a PR expert overnight.  The trick is to find some basic templates that will walk you step-by-step through the press release writing process.  If a small business marketer can get 80% of the way there in drafting a release, they will be successful.  There are lots of free and low-cost templates, both available that can help any marketer get started.  Simply do a google search on “sample press release” or “press release templates” and lots of resources will come up. 

2) Newsy, Meaty Headlines:  Be sure you feature the news of your announcement in your headline.  Your headline must identify with the reader fast, and provide a “so what” factor, or explain why this is news.  Your headline should be short and sweet, and convince the reader to continue on.

3) Sticky Introduction:  Make sure your 1st paragraph is a short, to the point summary of your news, in 50 words or less.  Your first paragraph should succinctly state exactly what you are announcing (don’t pussy-foot around, or you will lose readers’ interest).   Follow it up with who should care about this (your target audience) and why should they care (your value proposition), and how this will improve your readers’ lives (the business problem that you are solving for them). 

4) Call to Action:  Rather than try to tell the entire story, your press release should provide just enough information to get the reader interested, and then offer a “next step”.  This is called the call-to-action.  You should feature the call to action early on in the release, and later on as a wrap up.  Remember, tell your readers what they should do next.  For example, “ACME Corporation announces a new version of its Office Manager software that helps office managers and payroll specialists to track and manage time cards online, saving them time over paper-based payroll time cards.  Sign up for our free demonstration webinar by going to […insert your URL here..].”

5) Customer or Industry Quotes:  Give your news credibility by including customer quotes or thoughts from an industry analyst.  Readers shouldn’t just take your word for it, so back up your value statements and claims by getting a customer to comment on how appealing your product or service is, or by getting a subject matter expert from your industry to validate that the problem you are solving is an important one.

These are just a few tips to help you get started writing press releases.  More free small business marketing insights are available in our educational Smart Marketing Playbook article series at SMBmarketer.com. 

BTW, SMBmarketer.com offers the Press Release Tutor templates, which provide an interactive method that asks basic questions about your business, then takes your answers, and turns them into professional releases instantly.  You define your company messaging, and the Press Release Tutor walks you through how to create a press release in 5 easy steps. You can check it out at SMBmarketer.com.

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