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4 Reasons Press Releases Remain a Valuable Marketing Tool Underutilized yet so effective, the press release is still a powerful asset for any business. These tips and tricks for creating an impactful press release will hit home with journalists and dream prospects.

By April White

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While there are many ways to promote your company to the media, the press release is still an invaluable tool — especially in the hands of media relations specialists who know how to use them strategically. I have heard some suggest that press releases are outdated (yes, just putting out a press release on the wire without also sending customized pitches to key reporters is ineffective in generating coverage). Still, they can be highly impactful when developed and executed correctly.

Why are press releases still relevant?

  1. They demonstrate that the company takes the announcement seriously, encouraging reporters to pay closer attention.
  2. They empower brands to control their own narrative, weaving in more context, messaging, and persuasive language, giving reporters a story with a more brand-slanted point of view.
  3. They enable brands to utilize SEO keywords and hyperlinks to increase the visibility of their announcement and online platforms.
  4. When distributed via wire services, they live online in perpetuity; when reporters search for the company, they are likely to find the old press releases with the appropriate contact information and subtle but marketing-driven language that the brand seeks to promote.

Whether you plan to hire a PR agency or write your own release, keep in mind that most people reading your release are skeptical reporters. So you need to convince them that what you are announcing is newsworthy and relevant to their readers. Do so with compelling details and colorful quotes that inspire them to include the information in their stories.

Here are several tips to guide you in writing the most impactful press releases.

Related: The Essentials of an Effective Press Release Media Strategy

1. Research

Even if you are writing about what you know (your company), there is often still research to be done. What industry trend (with corresponding data and statistics) does your news fit into? Is there a recent report or poll to support that? What is the greater context within which your company sits, and why does that backdrop point to the relevance of your specific announcement?

Reporters love releases that provide context and data. If you can do both in a way that shines a spotlight on and underscores the importance of your company's news, you can hit a home run.

Pro tip: If you're using percentages, follow recent AP Style guidelines. The percentage sign is now acceptable when paired with a numeral in most cases.

2. Structure

The inverted pyramid method used in journalism is a great way to organize information and ensure you get straight to the story's heart. Simply put, you start with the broadest lens — think a Netflix-style one-sentence summary — and then deliver more granular information as the story unfolds.

In the lead sentence, clearly state the newsworthy development or milestone, and briefly summarize what your company does with a bold positioning phrase (e.g., Trust Relations, the fast-growing and disruptive integrated marketing communications agency, announced today…).

Don't forget to include why this news matters contextually to the company and the industry at large right up front (e.g. …demonstrating Trust Relations' continued growth, as the firm has doubled in size and revenue every year since its inception four years ago). Make sure the "who, what, where, when and why" are encapsulated in that first sentence or two.

From there, begin weaving in supporting information, data, quotes, and details. How did this development come about? How was the milestone achieved? Why does it matter to your company, customers, and the industry at large?

Pro tip: Never stack two quotes on top of each other (it looks odd, and journalists never do this). Instead, break them up with a paragraph that provides additional exposition, facts and background.

Related: How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations

3. Headlines and hyperlinks

A press release headline is valuable real estate for brand-specific and industry keywords your target audiences use when searching for relevant content online. Rather than assuming you know what prospects are typing into the search bar, use tools such as Search Listening to ensure your release drives measurable impact.

Knowing how many people visited your website from a press release is also helpful. This can be tracked by placing UTM tracking codes in hyperlinks within the release.

Pro tip: If your company has robust marketing capabilities, you could look into creating "vanity" URLs for the news featured in your press release (e.g., trustrelations.agency/consumertechnews) and tracking internet traffic that way.

4. Quotes

Quotes are the most underutilized and underappreciated part of a press release. This is the only place where you can boldly state your opinion, position or point of view on the news — and do so with flair and aplomb. It's the place for grand, subjective and colorful statements you can't get by anywhere else.

Also, make sure your quotes are free of flowery (read: insincere and pompous sounding "we're the best!") marketing language to ensure journalists don't vomit. It is equally important to avoid stale phrases (i.e., "we're thrilled that…") and overused buzzwords.

Think like a strategic communicator and write truly awe-inspiring quotes that make the news sound as impactful and ground-shaking as possible.

Pro tip: Try to write quotes as if the spokesperson is excitedly speaking from the heart to a room full of reporters — just as they naturally talk.

While a release should never be overly self-promotional, it still presents an opportunity to amplify your company's strategic positioning and messaging. There is a fine line to walk when doing this. If it's too matter of fact, it's boring. If it's too sales-y, it sounds slimy.

Frame the news compellingly to reporters with supportive statistics and data without sounding like a full-on sales megaphone drunk on the company's Kool-aid. In other words: "Show, don't tell," wherever possible.

It can take time to perfect a press release, but once you do, you'll see your announcement gain traction like never before.

Related: How to Write a Press Release Reporters Will Actually Read

April White

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

President & Founder of Trust Relations

April Margulies is the president and founder of the fast-growing strategic communications agency Trust Relations. She coined the term “Trust Relations” in 2019 to describe a new approach to PR that focuses on authenticity and transparency, which led to the creation of her national virtual agency.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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