What is a press release?
Press release is a document that talks about a business activity conducted by your business. A press release may act as an alternative to expensive advertising or it may support your advertising activities. A press release is limited to not only talking about an event but also about
- New product launch
- New store opening
- New promotions
- New deals
- Investment related news
- Business accomplishments
The press releases as a medium to showcase your products and services, has assumed an important dimension today in social media. A lot of companies are using social media sites to do a press release.
How does press release broadcast happen?
Press release broadcast have traditionally been done using
- Post Mailed to various news agencies
Contemporary press release happen using social media sites such as Facebook.
When does a business do a press release?
The press release can happen either on a regular basis ( in case of government related notification) or not so regular basis ( when you decide to launch a new product or new marketing campaign).
Structure of a press release document ?
A press release has following structure
Headline: A headline is a great place to write a catchy attractive starting line of your press release. Headline should let readers know what they can expect in the body.
Here are some catchy Headlines
iPad 2 Arrives Tomorrow
Microsoft and thePlatform Enable Delivery of Protected, High-Quality, Premium Online Video
Date: A press release with a date is important because you can catalog and archive press release for reading by public who might have missed it during its annoucement
Introduction: This part shows a little more detail and builds up the news or argument. An introduction should be sufficient to provide a snapshot of what is going to follow in the main body of press release . It should either be not very long or very short but to the point
Press Release Body: The body contains an in-depth information on the activity or promotion. To make it more attractive, historical contexts can be added in the start to build up the argument.
Just four weeks after the release of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at MIX11.
You can use also use humorous phrases to get in the attention of the user.Also you can use some pictures / images/ cartoons to get your point across.
Closing remarks: If you need to add any closing remarks to the press release it goes here. A closing remark may summarize what you had said in the body. It may also give a hint of what the reader of the press release can expect in the days to come.
Information about the company: You may put information about your company and its activities here
Media information: In this section, information about the PR manager and his/her address is provided. If someone needs some clarification, here is the person whom they are going to interact with.
What are the elements of a good press release ?
Here are some of the ways that you can use to make your press release effective
- Keep press release up to the point. It should neither be very long nor it should be very short
- Create a catchy headline to grab attention
- Tell the facts, inform and provide correct information
- Keep opening paragraph crisp
- Using a little dose of humour will keep the PR interesting enough for readers
- Determine the kind of audience , their interests and knowledge level in advance to provide right information
- Use higher contrasts between background and fonts to enable easy reading
- Address yourself as ‘your company’, ‘we’,’us’. Do not use I, me or mine in the PR
- Avoid filling up the PR with unnecessary jargon
- Create a press release strategy that coincides with product release or promotions.
- Think as a reader would you like the press release
- Learn, learn , learn from mistakes and errors
Advertising or PR what should I choose?
Advertising and PR have different purposes. However, a good question is when you do you use one over the other. The advantages of advertising are plenty.
You can reach masses for e.g. by showing an ad on TV or newspaper. It helps you build up the business awareness among the public quickly.
PR is more like a gentle cousin of advertising. It does not force people to look at itself, but by using regular releases and catchy content draws the users attention over a long period of time.
Advertising is when you have a lot of money to spend. A TV ad may cost millions of dollars on prime time. While a PR is practically free of charge and can be written by anyone with good command of the company business.
Effectiveness and impact:
Advertising has massive immediate impact on the people. Sometimes there is also a negative publicity when advertising overreaches itself and the company thus invites serious backlash.
PR is a low key affair, mostly targeted towards a known customer base and hence the impact of a backlash are moderate. If something does go wrong, it can be corrected by another press release ( not to repeated many times though).
So which one should I choose?
If your business can handle the publicity done using advertisement, you should go for it. However be aware of the negative consequences as well. If you want to build a loyal base in a number of years and are in no hurry to take risks, PR is the right way to go forward
My recommendation for small business is to start with PR until they reach a level of maturity and then add advertising to their arsenal once they have enough money.