Aaron Orendorff’s wrote an interesting article about the new book of Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit. Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more.
Efficient Press Release: The Chef’s Recipe
Imagine that our PR kitchen has turned into a real kitchen where we’re to cook a dainty dish called “Press Release.” If we select the right ingredients and stick to the recipe, the dish will appeal to the taste of a professional taster — the journalist. And finally, the journalist will treat the readers — your potential target audience — with it.
Getting the Ingredients
- News hook. Take a fresh event or news about a company. News or events that happened a month ago are considered stale and will only spoil your dish.
- Socially important, topical issues that conform to the news hook.
- A few pages about the company and opinions from its representatives about the recent events.
- Phone number, email and website address where users can get more detailed info.
Focus on the title. Scrape off the scales, and choose 3 or 4 words that answer the question “What happened?” Creating a title in the mold of “ Has Created a Brand New ” is always a good choice.
In case you’re not a product company, you can inform users about sales or various promotions, using a format similar to this: “Company Name A reduces prices for the Product Title B.” If you think this is too simple, keep in mind that a news hook is only a base for the press release — it will be stuffed with more interesting things.
Step 1. Title
The title of a press release describes a news hook in relation to a noteworthy event. If you have any issues finding a newsworthy event in your company, use the table which shows standard news hooks and events that can be related to them.
Table for relating the news hook and noteworthy events. √ — can be combined, × — better to avoid
A new product release can be easily related to a national holiday or economic situation. Staff changes can be related to domestic economy changes and a need for a company to reformat itself. Website redesign and company branding can also be related to a popular event, such as a holiday or some kind of opening.
A news hook in relation to an event can look like this:
Adidas Redesigned Its Website Before the Football World Championship
McDonald’s Announces McPrincess Week in Honor of the Newborn British Princess
Lukoil Reaction to Crisis: Management Staff Changes
Step 2. Lead
The first paragraph of a press release — the lead — is aimed to explain news hook references to readers. Thus, experts might be aware how Lukoil, one of Russia’s largest oil companies, and a given crisis are related, but there will be other readers who might require explanation. As for the McPrincess announcement, the relations, in this case, are emotional and need no explanations.
Step 3. Text
Here we can use all the data we have collected previously. Present the news in detail and add expert opinions about the event.
Place the most important information at the beginning of the text. Write from a third person perspective, and don’t use beautiful words that are meaningless. Only use facts in order of importance.
The most important things — up, details — down
Step 4. Background Info
The press release format doesn’t require you to consider the situation from different perspectives. However, you will ease the journalistic work significantly and attract readers’ attention if you add information about the company and other organizations that are related to the event.
Thus, for example, in preparing a press release about changes in upper management, it’s good to add the bio of a new manager or CEO and the circumstances that forced him or her to leave their previous post. Connecting the news hook to the release of a new iPhone, you should add the info about the device. Changes in law that affected the changes in management will also attract readers.
Step 5. Contacts
If a press release attracts attention, journalists may need more information regarding it. Add the contact information for a contact person or company manager, such as phone number and email address, below the text. You can also add a physical address and a website link if you like.
Combining all the ingredients in the order stated above, you will get a fresh, easily-digestible press release. Due to the relation of your news hook to a notable event, your press release won’t be dry. The information guidelines above will save you from having your text filled with unnecessary fluff.