September 30, 2014 | 5-minute read (898 words)
Originally published in Fox Business.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) posed the following question to members: What one tip do you have for writing press releases that actually get noticed? Read on for their answers.
No. 1: Skip the Fluff
When drafting a press release, think like a reporter. A reporter will read the headline and the first few sentences; if it doesn’t capture him in the first few seconds, it gets deleted. So get to the point right away by keeping it short and easy to read. Make your headline irresistible, and write like a reporter by using relevant statistics and interesting, timely factoids to tell your story.
— Tom Cannon of BungoBox
No. 2: Tie in Current Events
One of the most effective ways to increase your media pickups is to enhance the newsworthiness of your story by tying it to a relevant current event. If there was recently a major research report or other piece of industry news released that relates to your niche, tie your story into those headlines and position yourself as the expert authority on the latest trends in your market.
— Richard Lorenzen of Fifth Avenue Brands
No. 3: Add Imagery
Distributing press releases comes with a cost, and adding an image can increase the price by 50 percent. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with a large flow of information going to news outlets, you need to make sure that your words are seen. If you invest the money and time into shooting the “right” image, you will receive much more engagement.
— Aaron Schwartz of Modify Watches
No. 4: Form Relationships, Not Pitches
Cultivate relationships and credibility with your press targets. This will take time and patience, but it is absolutely worth it. It’s really easy to write a press release and send it out blindly to 100 press targets. Instead, hold off. Craft a custom message to a writer who covers that topic and is interested. He will quickly recognize that you respect his time and his inbox.
— Justin Beck of PerBlue
No. 5: Craft a Catchy Subject Line
I’ve been doing PR for tech startups for a few years now, and it’s almost entirely email-based. You have to remember that every writer, journalist and blogger gets hundreds of emails a day and only has time to skim the headers for something they’re interested in. You have about eight words to catch their eye, so make sure it’s something that relates to them. Also, don’t DO ALL CAPS.
— Trace Cohen of Launch.it
No. 6: Talk About Real News
A large percentage of startup press releases are thinly disguised attempts at self-promotion. Of course, press releases are a tool for getting your company name out there — and that’s okay — but you can offer more than just self-focused company news. A press release that somehow picks up on a trend or uncovers real news is always going to be more impactful than a superficial self-promotion.
— David Ehrenberg of Early Growth Financial Services
No. 7: Be First
If a big news story launches in your industry (e.g. a big platform change on Twitter, Facebook, etc.), be prepared to be one of the first to launch the news, along with your opinion, tips and advice. The media will be more interested in your piece, of course, if it’s not the same thing they’ve read from everyone else.
— Jesse Pujji of Ampush
No. 8: Write Like a Journalist
In the 24/7, nonstop news cycle of today, content outlets are looking for news to publish fast. The more journalistic your press releases, the less work the news outlet has to do to prep the news for publication. I always recommend writing your press release with a journalistic style to stand out from the crowd, making it more likely that your press will be distributed broadly.
— Doreen Bloch of Poshly Inc.
No. 9: Remember: It’s About Them (Not You!)
Unless you’ve got that buzz factor that everyone wants to know about (like a new iPhone release), your readers want to know how your press release can benefit them. Providing people with helpful tips, know-hows or advice on how to benefit from a current event is one way to make your press release engaging and relevant.
— Charles Gaudet of Predictable Profits
No. 10: Make It Plagiarism-Worthy
The textbook press release provides the bare facts that journalists/bloggers need, but the occasional added pun or beautifully rendered quote or insight will increase interest, get their creative juices flowing and help them market your product. So have some fun, add a little pizazz and give them something to plagiarize.
— Manpreet Singh of Seva Call
What's your secret to crafting press releases that get noticed? Tell us in the comments section below .
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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.