press releasesThis is an excerpt from my Kindle book, DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant.

Writing a press release is easy! There’s really a formula to it, and once you get it, you’ll find it easy to write multiple releases.

1. Start With Your Subject.

What is your release about? Keep in mind: it MUST be newsworthy! No one likes reading “fluff” releases. Some newsworthy topics include:

  • Launch of new business/grand opening
  • Launch of new website
  • Addition of major client or contract
  • Announcement of contest
  • Award received
  • Coverage in major media source

This list isn’t comprehensive by any means, but just ask yourself: could this be a headline on the front page of the news? Or anywhere else in the newspaper? Or is it more of an article or sales piece? If it’s the latter, save it for something else.

2. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Now write out all the details about your subject.

  • Who does it involve?
  • What is the event/announcement?
  • When and where does/did it occur?
  • How is it happening?

From this you’ll have the meat of your release, and your first paragraph (remember, most people won’t read past the first paragraph, so you want all the pertinent information to be there).

3. Find Your Keywords.

Make a list of keywords or phrases that relate to your business. An easy way to do this is to ask

yourself how you would describe the business. If it’s a local business, include the city (Orlando pizza) in the keyword. Test out the keywords by searching for them in Google to see what results come up. If the results show listings you want to be among, they’re good keywords. Use the keywords throughout the release.

4. Fill in the Blanks.

Now it’s time to create your release.

  • Insert your city and state, today’s date (or the date you’ll send out the release).
  • Insert the info from step 2 in the first paragraph — the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How?
  • You’ll have 1-2 additional paragraphs.
  • At the end of the press releases, it’s customary to have an “About X Company” section that overviews what your company does.
  • Following the About X Company is the contact information. Be sure and put a contact that is the most relevant to the topic. That might not be you, so if you don’t want a lot of phone calls with questions you can’t answer, put the appropriate person.

Most releases are around 400 words or less. There’s no need for your release to be longer than it needs to be, so say what you need to say and be done.

Quotes are good. Try to include a quote from someone involved in the news (the higher up the totem pole, the better). The quote should be interesting and show excitement in the topic.

5. Decide on Distribution

For distributing your release, you have three primary options:

  1. Use a distribution service like PRWeb.com. You pay anywhere from $89 to $500+ for this service, but your release is guaranteed to go to specific websites like Google News, Yahoo, MSN, and sites specific to your industry. The releases generally go out immediately or within a few hours. If you’re looking for a guarantee of where it’s going and are short on time, this is your best option.
  2. Send to a list of media contacts. If you have media contacts at websites, newspapers, magazines, radio or television stations, you can send them the press release directly. If not, you can research (free) or buy lists that give you the contact info for these PR contacts. If you want local coverage and don’t mind a little footwork, this is a good option.
  3. Your third option is to send the release to the numerous free distribution sites available. There are many, and some are better known than others. The disadvantage of these sites is that it may take 2 days to get your release published (it’s usually first come, first served). If you plan in advance, it can work. The more places your release is found, the better. If you’re on a tight budget, try this to boost your SEO with your release. Additionally, you should send your release via email to your database of customers and contacts.

6. After the Release

To see what sites published your release, search for your business name or your keywords on Google. You can also set up a Google Alert that will tell you where your keywords or business name are appearing online each day. Compare your search engine ranking with what it was prior to your release going out. It should move up. Then check your website traffic and orders to see if they went up as well. If they did, the release successfully helped boost your company?exposure!

If you elected for paid distribution, you will receive a report that tells you where your release was published. This is a useful metric, so keep it for comparison purposes for future releases.

Share your release through your company’s social media channels to amplify distribution. Some press release services will do this for you automatically if you enter your Twitter or Facebook info in when uploading your release.

Get your copy of DIY Press Releases today and start writing your own press releases!