Press Release Winter Games: Dead V. Alive

Hannah Olson / February 21, 2018

Spoiler alert: The press release wins.

Just like an Olympic athlete navigating abrupt and unexpected turns down a mountain, our digital-first, deeply connected society forces us to adapt and change the way we communicate, what feels like every day.

Traditional communication tools must adjust to these turns, too. Not only to stay relevant but to add a real value. One key traditional tool that needs to keep up? The press release.

Nonprofits, startups, Fortune 500 companies – regardless of your organization, press releases often are a straightforward method to share and house a formal record of an announcement. Investors and reporters still look to press releases. Clients request them. But in 2018, just creating one to create one is pointless.

Below are 10 ways to make your next press release bring home gold (last Olympic reference, promise).

1. Show, don’t tell

With just 8 seconds to catch someone’s attention, images and infographics should become your BFF. Swap out text-heavy press releases with one or two images that bring your story to life. Then when you’re sharing the press release with reporters, you can use the visual and simply link to the full release for more information. Images might include beautifully captured product photos, interactive maps or company spokespeople. Be intentional with these photos, however. Throwing one into the mix should help tell your story and/or visualize interesting data.

2. It’s not about you

If your press release only focuses on YOU (the brand or organization), don’t count on anyone caring. Press releases are an opportunity to tie into news trends and something bigger. This elevates the announcement and helps show the reporter why this is yes, newsworthy. For example, think about how your press release impacts or reflects what’s happening in your industry. Or, think bigger about how the press release offers a new perspective or idea around the larger news landscape.

3. Make it digital-first

This one might seem like an “oh duh” moment. But you’d be surprised how many press releases don’t link back to the organization’s website, social media sites or additional assets like executive bios or downloadable photos. This is critical because unlike twenty years ago, press releases live and breathe online.

Bonus: linking back to sites can help with SEO, too.

4. The shorter, the better

You have 60 seconds in your press release to capture a reporter’s interest. That’s about 200 words. Or half a page. So, the next time you’re writing that press release, be concise to a fault. There’s no need for industry jargon or long-winded explanations.

5. Bring quotes to life

How many times have you read in a press release how “pleased” or “excited” the company executive is about the announcement? Instead of stating the obvious and reiterating what the body of the press release already says, include a quote that brings a different perspective and one that helps illustrate what differentiates your product, brand and announcement.

6. Aesthetic matters

Just like a resume is an opportunity to “sell” yourself, a press release is an organization’s shot at telling its story. Forget plain, unformatted text and bring in some of the brand’s personality. The press release should align with the overall brand and maybe it’s just a logo, but don’t be scared to think outside the box.

7. Transform into new content

If written well, a press release is content that you should massage and re-purpose. Maybe it’s a new blog post for the website or a contributed article/Op-Ed that showcases a subject matter’s expertise. Why reinvent content that’s already been crafted?

8. Leverage social media

A good rule of thumb is to align social media posts with your press release announcement. Take your awesome quote, for example, and post this on Facebook with a link back to the press release or even better, media coverage that’s a result of the press release.

9. Record a podcast… from your phone

Have five minutes to spare? That’s all you need to record and edit a podcast from the palm of your hand. You can use the press release as an outline to drive the conversation and develop conversational questions that help share the story even further. Sit down with a company executive and fire away. The podcast can be shared with reporters, on social and as a component to the blog post.

There are several apps to choose from, at Fearey we like Stitcher.

10. Pitch, pitch, pitch

An interesting press release makes an interesting story, but don’t solely copy and paste the body of the release into your emails. Identify the most compelling piece and finesse that into the shortest 1-2 sentences which serves as your pitch. The press release is the formality that goes along with the email, but it’s not there to do the job for you.

Incorporate the above, however, and the press release will be very much alive.

 

Are you looking to invest in PR? Press release on the horizon? Reach out to our team today to talk about what we can do for you.