With people now able to share and distribute information online themselves, many business owners today may wonder – is a press release even necessary? The answer is yes, and probably more so than ever before. While we can all access to more information and can distribute it to audiences, most of us (business owners and reporters) don’t have the means to easily decipher which information is relevant and which is not. For reporters, the challenge is especially intense, because as news outlets shrink, reporters are responsible covering more now than ever before. A well written press release, when thoughtfully crafted and presented to them, helps them cut through the noise and understand whats relevant – in just a few words.

A well written press release share with the right members of the media can get your businesses news in-front of the target audience you long for directly, cutting through the rest of the internet noise without requiring you to spend advertising dollars. To succeed though, a press release not only has to be well written but also intentionally place in front of the eyes of journalist. A well written press release is ideally picked up by  a credible news organization in your target audience and convinces journalists to write their own original piece about your story, or is copied and pasted by online outlets that your target audience reads.

Here’s tips on how you can create a strong release and distribute it in the right way:

Write a stellar press release

At its core a press release gives a succinct summary of a news-worthy piece of information. Whether it’s the launch of a new product or event or new funding. It should be written with a singular goal in mind: to attract attention of journalists writing to your target audience and convincing them that the information is (1) newsworthy, and (1) relevant to their target audience. So before you start composing your release find answers to these two questions first: Why does my target audience want to hear about this right now? How will this information help them?

Once you’ve answered these questions you’re ready to start writing. At all times:

  • avoid industry jargon – because your distributing to a wide base of people you want to ensure the information you share is accessible to most
  • avoid sounding overly promotional – everyone thinks their new is “groundbreaking” “world-class” but using terms like this are more likely to deter reporters from picking it up and audiences from reading

Writing a press release, the traditional approach is to lead with the most important pieces of information (the who, where, when, where). But because so many releases are written this way, try to set yours apart by leading with a short but catchy hook before getting into the nuts and bolts.

One way to catch the readers eye is to introduce an idea that people commonly think is true and then flip the idea on its head. Here’s an example of that: you are launching a brand new product that solves a well known issue. Your hook starts off by acknowledging the well-known issue and how its frustrated experts for so many years. Then you flip that idea on its head by suggesting that, despite what everyone thinks, this problem does have a obvious solution. From there you proceed into the nuts and bolts of the release, where your introducing the product that solve the problem. Catchy hooks such as this can set your release apart from the dozens journalists receive each day.

Getting your release in front of the media

The common route of distributing press release is through an online wire service like PRwire or Business wire. While these are great options for distributing releases, your efforts shouldn’t stop there. In addition to sharing within your own social and email marketing channels, you should strike out on your own to share your release to reporters directly. One of the best places to start is within your own back yard. Reporters are more likely to pick up on releases when they come from businesses are located in the regions they cover, so its always wise to form relationships with your local media, read what they write, and share releases with them routinely.

Another way to extend your reach is to reach out to online trade publications specific to your niche. Often times they’ll pick up your release or ask you to write an original story that they can republish online. While many trade publications don’t have as nearly as high a reach as national traditional media outlets, they have the advantage of being hyper-targeted, so they can be a powerful vehicle for getting direct access to your target audience.