Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Create Newsworthy Press Releases



It’s a frustrating truth; sometimes companies cannot utilize a press release (PR) because they simply cannot come up with news! It can be much easier to brainstorm killer content for web pages, blogs and articles, especially when your company occupies a tight niche. Niches are a challenge, but the worst thing you cando is ignore press releases in favor of “easier” kinds of content.

Here’s another truth: there are more than a few secrets to creating newsworthy press releases. Many content agencies and copywriters harbor these secrets, but we believe otherwise.

10 PR Topic Ideas to Get You Started

1. Highlight charitable endeavors: it’s no secret that people love to fund brands concerned with supporting good charities. Use a press release to blast the news about your brand partnering with a charitable organization, and highlight how you’ll be proactively contributing.

2. Give a shout out about customer giveaways and contests: everybody likes to feel involved. It’s icing on the cake if they happen to win a cool prize or take home the title from a cool contest. Get the word out with a well written press release.

3. Trade shows and other events: whether your brand is Internet based or a brick and mortar business, people love to know where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. You can fill their need for news by writing a press release about an upcoming trade show or other lively event your brand will be attending.

4. Newly released or upcoming product/service releases: there’s nothing more exciting than a new release. Use a PR to spotlight what’s new, improved and awesome. We wrote a blog about writing a press release for an app, which is another great PR idea – the release of your brand’s own awesome app.

5. Sales chatter: how many of us live for sales? Even if we hate to shop, a good sale on a product or service we want to try (or one we already love) is like catnip!

6. Spotlight recent broadcasts or publications: your clients will want to hear about your latest spotlights. Did your brand recently land a feature in a publication or appear on a televised or radio broadcast?

7. Speaking engagements: sometimes this idea is overlooked. If you or someone from your brand is serving as a keynote speaker, write a PR about it!

8. New staff: people like to feel connected to brands and businesses. You can help achieve this by drawing attention to new personnel (such as a new Director or C-Level staff) in a publicized press release.

9. Awards, achievements and milestones: there’s nothing wrong with tasteful bragging. A PR is the perfect place to spotlight company and/or employee awards, achievements and milestones.

10. Training and certification news: qualifications build credibility. Why not leverage a PR to build your brand credibility by reporting about new training and/or certifications that will propel your abilities forward.

6 Ways to Stay On Task

Brainstorming a newsworthy topic is half the battle. The other half is producing newsworthy press release writing. According to the Ottawa Business Journal, “a good press release should grab attention and contain the entire story.” It should cover the five basic questions every good piece of copy includes: who, what, where, when and why. You can preserve quality writing and stay on topic by putting these six suggestions to use:

1. Hoard ideas: yes, hoarding IS sometimes good. According to PR Daily, it’s vital to keep a list of ideas. We just gave you a list of 10 to get you started. Keep that list handy, and add to it as you come up with your own ideas. Writing down or recording your ideas now can save you time later.

2. Stay on topic: PR Daily says to avoid thinking of a press release as an epic piece of literature. PRs should be focused, which means telling the story clearly in as few words as possible.

3. Use an outline: outlines aren’t just for college students; they have practical real world application! Before you get into writing a press release, outline the points you intend to cover. The outline will help you stay on topic and avoid using fluff where it doesn’t belong.

4. When inspiration visits, write: it’s likely you’ll feel a spark of inspiration when hoarding PR ideas. Don’t waste that spark! Write when you’re feeling inspired about the topic. You’ll find the task far less work when your creative flame is lit.

5. Recycle old information: PR Daily advises against issuing the same press release over and over. But the general information you’ve already written about your company and the product(s) or service(s) you specialize in can be recycled. Keep it handy and you can save time while focusing on what matters: your newsworthy topic.

6. Edit last: do not fall into the old trap of editing as you write. Take it from our seasoned staff of copywriters, creative writers and technical writers: it doesn’t save you time! If anything, it makes the writing and editing processes take twice as long because you sacrifice your writing flow. Instead, focus solely on writing BEFORE editing the finished copy. You’ll find your PRs more newsworthy if you stick to this method.

The Secrets Out

Newsworthy press release writing hinges on quality ideas and good writing. The biggest kept secret by some of the biggest and most influential brands on the Internet is their ultimate secret weapon: a seasoned copywriter. Before you dig into your next newsworthy PR, why not find one of your own?

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