Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity How to Write a Press Release that Gets Attention by Amy B. Perrault As the creator + editor of Life of Josie M. | Design. Fashion. Life, adjunct business professor, veteran strategist and big idea lover, Amy B. Perrault has spent close to twenty years empowering small businesses, healthcare, non-profit organizations, luxury residential realtors, and institutional investing brands. Her integrated marketing FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER communications approach fuses strategic planning, data collection @AmyBPerrault via qualitative research and quantitative metrics with award-winning collateral and outside-the-box creative applications. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Who should use this eBook? Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity, How to Write a Press Release that Gets Attention includes step-by-step instructions on how to get started with the basics of publicity and fundamentals of writing for local editors, national reporters, newswire distributions and social media outlets. This eBook is perfect for anyone: • Starting a new business • Launching an a product or service • With newly-acquired marketing responsibilities • Wanting to cross off “Learn something new today” on their bucket list www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Let’s get one thing straight – I hate writing press releases. It has been the bane of my marketing existence for the last seventeen years. “ 53% ofget their news adults all American online. That is about But what has been the most effective tool in synthesizing 71% of all internet down of a brick of information into a 30-second elevator pitch, creating a solid foundation for a sales presentations and, more importantly, gaining the already over-stimulated users. ” PewInternet.org attention of reporters and media outlets? You guessed it – the press release. In order to effectively reach and get published by local editors, national reporters, newswire distributions + social media outlets, you need to contact them in the manner and format they wish – electronically delivered killer content prepared in the standard industry format. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity What exactly is a press release? A press release is concise, one-page article, written in third person, used to announce new information, new facts or ? milestones of you, your organization, product or service to a specific individual or group to be distributed to a specific, targeted or mass audience. With love at first headline, a press release needs to grab attention and give brief but pertinent information [the ole’ 5 Ws: who, what, where, when and why]. WARNING: Press releases have had an unwavering, time-tested standardized format passed down through generations of Lois Lanes and Clark Kents. DO NOT attempt to customize, extend the length or further change the format thinking you will get noticed faster. You will only end up deleted faster. Trust me. I’ve tried it. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this! ?
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity What is the standardized format? TOP • Using letterhead, make sure contact information is complete + visible. Most important: contact name, title, phone number and email. Social media freak? Try including your social accounts as well like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. • Add “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” [yes, in all caps] at the top. You never know who is the first email gatekeeper at news sources – Intern? Reporter? Editor? The guy with the red stapler down the hall? – I always put my label in a different color so no matter who is overseeing, my press release will stand out. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity HEADLINE • Be a tease. Use a short and catchy headline that includes you a compelling fact or news item. BODY • Start with the city of origin [all caps]. • In the lead paragraph, put your best foot forward – summarize your most pertinent facts and findings. • In the second paragraph, give a brief history of your subject, product of service. • In the third paragraph, personalize your message with a quote or testimonial from a human involved, adding clout and credentials. • In the fourth paragraph, add contact information, costs/entrance fees, and purchase specifics. • The final paragraph is always your boilerplate statement or mission statement. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity BOTTOM • Add # # #, at the bottom of the press release to designate the end of the news piece. [-30- can be used as well. And no, I have yet to discover what the symbols actually mean.] Each paragraph should be no longer than two to three brief sentences. Remember, journalist – and the random guy with the red stapler down the hall – want to read a story, not an advertisement, so avoid repetition, use of fancy-pants language + insider jargon. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity I memorized the format. Now what? Most of us are too hardwired into our own little universe to look at our business/product/service truly objectively to create a newsworthy story. Editors, reporters and news sources alike, all do the same little dance when they see flackery, super hyperbole and pure ridiculousness coming from a mile away – they hit the DELETE button. This means, you need to think like a reporter – you need to develop an angle. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity What’s my angle? And how do I find it? The sad and harsh truth is, the news world is not warm + fuzzy with puppies being swaddled by babies at the bottom of rainbows with Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. The news world is matter-of-fact, cut-and-dry, I-have-2.2 seconds, tell-me-something-I-haven’t-heard-before, with the score from Network playing in the background. In order to find an angle, you have to step back to gain a newsworthy perspective. Ask yourself: Why? How? And then, Why? again. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity ! ! Ideas that won’t fly: • “Low prices guaranteed!” No dice – too common, too promotional, NOT news. • “Always great service!” No dice – ditto. • “Wide selection of….” No dice – double ditto. • “We are THE best EVER.” No dice – triple dog ditto! • “Our three volunteers volunteered today!” Getting snarkilicous for a moment because I hear this ! frequently. Volunteers are suppose to volunteer, again, no dice – too common, too promotional, NOT news. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Getting warmer: • “We offer specialized weight-loss formulas and diabetic cookbooks.” Inside stuff – decent topic, but can you dig deeper and build a solid news piece? Now you’re cooking with gas: • “We specialize in 30-minute meal cookbooks with weekly cooking classes for teens and adults with diabetes.” Ah ha! – Now you’re standing out a bit. • “Our three volunteers cured cancer today!” STOP THE PRESSES! – Ask yourself, what did our volunteers accomplish this month? Season? Year? Can you quantity anything? “Served a record of over 500 families at the local soup kitchen, the highest to date.” www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Snarkiness aside, the last demonstrates the gulf between what you see as worthy of publication and what the news world sees as worthy of publication. Remember to think: • Numbers, stats, anything to quantify your endeavors • Rockstars! Is there a client, donor, community member with some clout willing to give testimonial on your behalf? • Photos! Do you have a non-fuzzy, high-resolution photo to attach with captions to further showcase my news piece? • Ditch the box! Are you the only one – in the local area, region, world, universe – that is doing what you’re doing? www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity I submitted my press release. Now what? Here are two of the most important etiquette nuggets to help you get the most out of working with the news world: ONE Email, DO NOT CALL, the contact name you used. Don’t be that guy – “Hi. I’m just calling to see if you received my emailed press release I sent 21 seconds ago.” PLEASE NOTE: A news person is NOT going to alert you to tell you your piece was published. You need to follow up by reading their publication. I follow up three to four days after submittal, and like to include in my subject line, “FOLLOW UP” with the title of my original email. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity TWO Plan your submission around the news person’s and publication’s deadlines. Do your research, all media outlets have deadlines posted in their publications and on their websites. Since online media is continually updated, plan ahead – email ahead an inquire about deadlines or submit one to two weeks ahead to ensure publication. PLEASE NOTE: Do not suggest placement for where you think your news piece should go within the publication. You have NO control over placement, UNLESS YOU PURCHASE SPACE. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity Checklist Do you have the format handy for reference? What is your angle? What makes you stand out from the rest? List your target publication(s). What are their deadlines? List your target contacts. Do you have all dates? Do you have all places? Do you have all costs/prices/fees listed? Do you have any statistics, rockstar quotes/testimonials to add? Do you have a non-fuzzy, high resolution photo to attach? Do you have a caption to include with the photo? Did you include your boilerplate? Did you spellcheck and proofread all names, titles, dates, etc.? Did you submit your press release in a timely manner? Did you follow up appropriately? What were your results? Did you get published? www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!
Death by Press Release: Gaining Killer Publicity The beauty of a press release is its’ super efficiency [if you’re a one woman show, you’ll appreciate the time saved by as a multipurpose tool]: • Use in press and sales kits • Use as an elevator pitch • Post as current news on website • Post as blog post • Post both website and blog links as social media bites Easy peasy, right? The only redeeming quality of writing press releases – well, beyond the fact that they work – is once you write one and submit it, you have mastered the format and process. Are press releases still the bane of my marketing existence? UGH, yes. They’re like cockroaches and Kardashians — not even a nuclear explosion would exterminate them. www.LifeofJosieM.com | Share this!