Have you just set up an online store? Or do you have some great news about your business that just begs for a wider audience? Then how about sending out a press release!
Press releases were originally written for journalists, to get them to write about your news in the popular press. But since the advent of easy online PR distribution channels, the humble press release now has a wider audience and can drive traffic to your retail website.
It’s not difficult to write a press release, but they do have a specific layout, tone and written content, so here’s how to
go about it…
You first need to have something interesting to announce and a ‘hook’, or angle, to grab the reader’s attention and reel them in. Popular hooks include:
- tying into a topical subject such as a current affairs item, holiday or event
- announcing the release of a new product or collection
- sharing a human-interest item, such as an inspirational story from one of your customers
- winning new business or an industry award
- participating in an event or charity fundraiser.
As you compile your press release, it pays to remember that you’re telling, not selling. The content should contain factual information, backed up by quotes from relevant people. Minimise any technical or industry jargon so you don’t put off readers who are not familiar with your terminology.
Always write a press release in the third person (they, them and their) and use keyword phrases to optimise the release for search engines. If you have an image, you can attach or include that too.
Release information – Write “Media Release” at the top of the document. Follow it with release instructions like “for immediate release”, or if it’s time sensitive “release after 12pm, 10 April 2013”, for example. Add today’s date and your city location.
Headline – Just like in blogs and emails, the press release headline is hugely important. Spend time creating a strong headline that captures the crux of your story and compels the reader to explore further.
Summary – The lead paragraph should lend more information to the headline and, again, keep the reader interested. It should contain the “who, what, when, where and why” of your story.
Body – Go into further details in the main body of the release, such as the background of the story and any statistics. Break it down into short sentences and paragraphs, and add quotes from key people such as a customer or even yourself!
To finish – At the end of the news story, write “————ends———-“ to signify that the news item is complete.
About – After the story, add a short profile of your company.
Contact details – At the foot of the page, add the contact details of the person who is happy to handle any further enquiries.
Check and check again
Once you have drafted your press release, print it out and read through it for correct use of grammar, readability and any typographic errors. Give it to someone else to look through too – I can’t tell you how many times a fresh pair of eyes has caught something I missed. Your final release should be polished, error-free and easy to read.
Now spread the word!
Old school media relations are still important, but a lot of small business owners don’t have relationships with individual journalists that they can send releases to directly. An online press release distribution service such as www.PRweb.com, www.prlog.org, www.newsmaker.com.au or www.clickpress.com will publish and push your press release out to news sites for publication, sometimes for free.
This attracts a wider audience of both journalists and anyone searching online.
Need an example? Keep your eyes open for a Spiffy Stores press release going out soon!