Getting the word out in a way that works!

Something exciting is happening at your company – a grand opening, a new location, the introduction of a new product – and you want to tell the world about it. But you’re a small company with a limited budget. You don’t have the luxury of a PR department, so you sit down to compose the press release yourself.

One thing’s for sure: your target audience will be busy. They may glance at the headline; they may even read the first paragraph. If the press release is especially compelling and they’re in the market for your particular products or services, they may continue to read. But don’t count on it.

How do you write a press release that grabs and keeps a reader’s attention? Here are four tips:

  1. Use a strong headline. Limit your headline to twenty words or less and put the most important information up front. Scan well-written publications like The New York Times or Wall Street Journal and you’ll find headlines with active words that boldly proclaim the gist of the story: “Record Rains Cause Major Flooding” or “Police Chief Gets New Term.” Follow their example. Keep it short.
  2. Keep it brief. Try to keep your press release to one page, two at the most. Anything longer runs the risk of reader fatigue. Busy reporters, editors, and readers aren’t interested in a dissertation. As Detective Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” The first paragraph should follow the journalist’s guideline of answering five basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
  3. Keep it focused. If you want to discuss both a new product and a new location, consider sending two press releases. Don’t dilute your message. The article should be centered on a single newsworthy topic. Include key words and phrases, and repeat them throughout the article. Assume that your press release will be published over the Internet, so make it easy for search engines – and your readers – to find and share your story. To add interest, consider including brief and relevant quotations from industry leaders, company executives, employees, and customers.
  4. Proof. Proof. Proof. Pay attention to detail. Check for grammatical errors. Give the article to others who can review it for typos and misspellings. There are plenty of free online tools that will grade your writing. Use them. Follow standard formatting – no fancy fonts or pretty colors. Does the press release read like a story with a beginning, middle and end? If not, break up content into easy-to-digest sections. And make sure your company’s contact information is clearly displayed.

Remember, a great press release focuses on telling the reader something interesting. Often less is more.

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As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.