Tuesday, 13 March 2012

How To Write A Press Release

Now before I start this post I need to state the following disclaimer. I am not a PR professional. Everything I have learnt about doing press has been through trial and error as Ive promoted my own businesses and events.
Ive been very lucky that friends of mine who work as journalists or in marketing have given me tips along the way and I have put together press releases for my own company and events which have garnered some free publicity. 
Recently the lovely Jo from DiabloJo asked me for some pointers for some info she was putting together for Milkcow magazine. The advice I gave her seemed to work as she has a lovely two page spread in the magazine this month. 
Diablojos article in Milkcow

So in the spirit of helping all my fellow sassy self employed followers here are my tips for writing press releases.

The basic structure of your press release
  • A press release should have a the title 'Press Release'
  • Then, Date: and the date
  • Then either 'for immediate release' or 'embargoed until ...' this will depend on whether the news you are sharing is for immediate distribution or if its to be disclosed on a specific date.
  • Then a snappy title, like a headline, usually in bold. If it's for local press, make this local. And people focused.
  • Then in the first paragraph it's a simple who, what, where, why and when -  for example 'Local Girls Making Vintage their business' Keep this paragraph short.
  • The add second and third paragraphs which flesh this out the detail
An article about the pamperbox focusing on us as women in business in a local paper

The three rules about your quote are:
After your third paragraph add a quote. For example "Betty Pamper, Co Founder  of The Vintage pamperbox, says ' blah blah'" Keep this conversational 'I'm', 'that's' and 'we're' instead of 'I am', 'that is', 'we are'
Make it personal - you have a story, your choice of lifestyle, the area you live etc.
Make it about people -for those who want to stand out from the crowd in an elegant way.
Make it local - if indeed it's local coverage your after.
Use the 'power of three', for example 'it's here in Leeds, totally unique and fabulous fun'
Add a second quote, perhaps from a happy customer/high profile customer. Someone who reflects your target audience..'
A feature about a Pamperbox event in a regional magazine

Creating Bespoke Press Releases
Always  tailor any release to suit your audience. Send a different release to each contact if necessary. Think of all the different angles you can offer. Are you a working mum? have you set up a business with a good friend? Did a certain life event spark you business idea? tap into the various layers of your own story and personality and you will be surprised at how many different publications your profile can fit.
The Vintage pamperbox flagged in a local listings magazine "Must Do" section

Getting it to the right desk/inbox
Look in papers and magazines and see where your stories will fit, call them and ask who to send a press release to. With papers, ask to speak to the person who looks after features. Make sure you get the right person/people before you send the release. 
Mini feature in Juno women's magazine about an event I promoted

Contact Details
Finish your press release with contact details and then 'Notes to editors' - anything relevant facts and figures about your business that you want to promote

For Example:
Notes to Editors
1.the Vintage Pamperbox was set up in 2009
2. Nicky Rockets  is run by ...

Put your release in the main body of the e-mail, not in an attachment, as some journalists use Macs and have problems with attachments in my experience.
Final Tip. Get someone to proof read all press releases before you hit send. My spelling and grammar are terrible so I have a network of very helpful friends who proof all my work in return for tea, cake and the odd cocktail.

All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Betty Pamper (aka Perelandra Beedles)  unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog.

Skimlinks Test