When considering your options for useful marketing tools, it's important not to overlook the value of the press release. Sending a news release to your targeted media is one of the most inexpensive marketing strategies that can generate large returns. Unfortunately, it is often misused, leading to wasted time, energy, and even reputation.
Creating an attention-grabbing press release that puts you in front of your customers through media coverage can be very successful, as long as you follow these few very straightforward steps.
It Must Be Newsworthy
Arguably the most essential aspect reporters and editors seek in a media release is whether it actually contains news. More often than not (surprisingly), many they receive have no real news value. To ensure your release rises above the rest, make it newsworthy. As you begin to craft your release, ask yourself:
- Is this something that will make lives easier, increase safety, save money, help people do something more efficiently, etc.?
- How is it new, different, unlike anything before it or on the market today?
- Why should a reader care about this?
If you can answer these questions quickly and without much thought, you have a good media release topic. If it's a stretch to fill in these blanks, take a moment to consider this may not be the right subject for a release.
Show The Story
Now that you have news share it in a way that captures the reader's attention and desire to know more. There's an old saying in the news business: show, don't tell. A news release in our industry written this way truly captures an editor's attention.
Instead of saying, "we're pleased to announce the unveiling of XYZ widget," and then list the general specs and uses for the device, think about how you can showcase its value. Was there a problem a customer brought to you, and this product is the result? How does it save time, money, lives, etc.? Tell that story, and you've shown why this is a fantastic product rather than told people it is a great product.
PR Pro Tip: if you can include an honest quote from a customer that speaks to the product or service's effect on the operation, this supports the story in spades. If that customer is willing to talk more about it beyond the release, mention this at the end of the release, and encourage reporters to reach out for a more in-depth piece.
Take your release one step further by weaving your news with your company's goals or messaging. Does this news directly tie into any of them? Let's say you're announcing a new widget that helps customers increase safety in a maintenance procedure, and one of your company goals is increasing safety. Tying these two together in your story can increase your chances of coverage and reinforce your company's priorities with your customers.
It should go without saying that a well-written piece telling a story has a much better chance of publication. Editors are busy. If they don't have to edit too much, your release is an easy choice to include in their day's news.
Check Your Facts & Grammar
Other than lack of newsworthiness, another common complaint from reporters focuses on the writing. Misspellings, incorrect titles, poor grammar, fluff quotes that don't add to the story, and long, confusing sentences lead reporters and editors to wonder about the release's credibility. Take the time to fact check, spell check, and have others review and proof the release before blasting it out to the media to ensure accurate, clearly presented information. Remember - the professionalism of your PR reflects the professionalism of your company.
Leave Them Wanting More
The two most common goals of a media release are:
- Build customer familiarity with your brand; and
- Drive customers to your business to make a purchase.
By sharing enough information to pique interest and answer the fundamental questions in a media release, you can strategically draw potential customers to your website to learn more. You can accomplish this by including hotlinks in your release to additional product specs or more details on its uses. Also - consider adding a well-written call to action sentence encouraging them to visit your website. Not only will customers visit, but you'll draw in naturally curious reporters and editors to your site as well.
Keep the release short and sweet - long releases don't get read. Editors prefer releases kept to about a page, and bonus - is another reason to leave them wanting more.
Finalize your release by posting the full text of your release with images on your website. Reporters and editors are busy folks. It's much easier to send readers to your website to grab the text than from a PDF you send them. More PR bonus points as this again drives traffic back to you.
Include High-Resolution Images
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Press releases are no different. You increase your chances of having your media release picked up if you include high-resolution images (4x6 at 300 dpi is a good rule) with a copyright release. Leaving reporters and editors to ask for photos is another reason your release could be passed by.
- Keep the release about your company. As a general rule, you should not waste any ink slamming a competitor. Focus on highlighting why you're better rather than why they're not.
- Think about your media audience. Some news might very well be newsworthy to your local press, but not the aviation media, for instance. Have different media lists and send news that is relevant to each.
A well-written release on a relevant piece of news that includes high-resolution images has the best chance of getting your company some hard-earned coverage in the media. If you don't have a professional public relations team or writer on staff, a small investment to have releases written or even edited to make them stronger can pay dividends.
About Aerospace Marketing Lab
Aerospace Marketing Lab brings more than 20 years of aerospace marketing, sales, branding, and strategy development experience and insight to every customer. We understand aerospace’s complex marketing and sales models. We use this insider knowledge to break boundaries and raise aerospace and defense clients to the next level.