DIY Public Relations: Press Release 101

Do you want to send out information on your company, brand, product, etc., but you're unsure how to do it? The first step is to prepare a press...

Running a pr agency specializing in start-up and emerging brands, I often get asked about DIY PR. While PR professionals and agencies offer experience, connections and let’s face it – the sheer fact of saving you the trouble, DIY PR can be a valuable tool for new companies and brands who may not have the budget quite yet to outsource this critical aspect of an effective communications plan.

There are various tools to help enhance and execute effective communications strategies for your business — simple DIY PR essentials for any new company wishing to increase brand awareness, tap into their target market, and ultimately increase their bottom line. First up: the press release.

You want to send out information on your company, brand, product, etc. But how do you do it? The first step is to prepare your news into a press release. Here are the basics:

 

1. Keep it short.

Try to edit your information down into no longer than 1 page. Editors, writers, reporters etc get bombarded daily with releases, so the tighter you can keep yours, the better.

2. Get to the point.

You know how you rarely read through an entire article in the paper? Well, same goes for media. They may not get through your whole release, so get the most important information out first: who, what, where, why and how.

3. Share details.

Subsequent paragraphs should expand upon the 4 W’s, giving further details and relevant information. Be careful however, not to trail off as your release goes on. Keep it engaging and interesting.

4. Make it interesting.

At the end of your release, leave your readers interested to find out more – with a quote, how this ties into a current trend, an interesting statistic, a thought provoking question, etc.

5. Include a boilerplate.

Yes, it is acceptable to end a release with an “About” paragraph giving more details on the brand, but keep this short and try not to repeat info you’ve already given.

6. Stand out.

Don’t be afraid to put personality into your release. If your release is dry, dull and otherwise boring, no one is going to want to write about it. Give them a reason to want to write about your news. Keep your release appealing & engaging to get media excited to report on your story.

7. Know your media outlets.

Keep your audience in mind when writing your release and keep the tone reflective of the outlet you’re wishing your story to appear in. Is this going to The Wall Street Journal? Daily Candy? Vogue? You want writers, editors, reporters, etc to be able to immediately envision this story in their media outlet, so adjust the tone accordingly.

8. Make it error proof.

Proofread, proofread, proofread! The last thing you want to do is lower the reputation of your brand with typos and other simple grammatical errors that – truthfully, we all make. Always have someone other than yourself read through your release before sending it out.

While the above are some useful guidelines, keep in mind there is no one “right” way to write a release. What’s important is that releases are informative and engaging – they don’t have to be textbook. Find what works for you and your brand and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

 

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