Writing press releases isn’t easy. If you think I’m wrong, take this little quiz. Answer true or false to the following statements:
- I write press releases primarily to encourage journalists at newspapers and magazines to write articles about my company, or for broadcasters who will feature us on the news or invite us as guests on talk shows.
- I write press releases only when I have legitimate news that the media think will be worth covering.
- Because journalists are busy and don’t have time to read long press releases, my releases are always as short as possible.
- I try to include “who, what, when, where, why and how” high in the press release, preferably the first paragraph, so journalists don’t have to spend valuable time hunting for it.
- When I write a release and journalists never print it, or I get no calls for interviews, I chalk it up as a failure. Then I start all over again and find something better to write about so I can get the media coverage I need.
- I measure the success of my press releases by the number of clippings I have generated, or the number of TV and radio shows that have covered my organization.
Now, give yourself one point for every statement that you marked as true. Now tally up your points.
If you scored 5 or higher, you’re writing press releases the old way—only for journalists—and you’re completely overlooking an audience that you should be targeting with your message: the end user who will find your press releases online, read them, and buy what you’re selling, even if journalists think your story isn’t worthy of their time and attention.
If your score is 1 to 4, you’re doing some things right but you’re still missing the chance to really make your press releases as effective as possible.
If you scored zero, congratulations! You understand why you are writing press releases. You’re writing them not only for journalists, but for people who are in a position to buy your products and services. Twenty years ago, the old way worked just fine. Today, thanks to the Internet, everything we’ve learned about writing press releases has changed.
The Number One problem I hear from most people who email me or attend my presentations is the inability to write a compelling press release. That’s why I’m kicking off a f~ree 89-day course for Publicity Hounds on “89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases.”
Every day for 89 days in a row, I’ll give you one lesson, delivered via email, on how to write and distribute a press release. Each day, I’ll also give you one opportunity to write a release. For example, if you’re rolling out a new product, that’s one opportunity. Each day’s lesson will take you just a few minutes to read.
By the time you’re done, you’ll learn everything you need to start writing releases not only for journalists, but for the end user. And I’ll show you how to use your press releases to change their behavior. That is, to encourage people to do whatever you want them to do: buy tickets to your event, make a donation, test-drive your new product, see your catalog at your website, visit you at a trade show, or whatever.
You’ll see examples of good and bad press releases, and you’ll get tips from some of the very best publicists, PR practitioners and Publicity Hounds on the planet.
You can start the tutorial at any time, and you can opt out of it at any time. Each week, I’ll concentrate on one specific sub-topic. You can see what the entire course includes and sign up for your first tip here.
If you’re a blogger or ezine publisher, link to this blog post so your readers can participate.
Speakers can share it with their audiences. Trade associations, chambers of commerce and other nonprofits can pass it along to their members.
I’ve had a blast creating the course and I can hardly wait to share it with you. Sign up today, and your first lesson will be delivered via email within 15 minutes.