PR Pointers: Writing a Press Release that Sells Your Product
Press releases are one of those things that everybody feels like they need, but nobody understands why or how to get one. The Mullet of business practice, if you will: Party in the front (‘We released a new project! Yay for us!’). But there are tons of hidden benefits working behind-the-scenes (backlinks and Google visibility to name a few) that will also help bring your product to the spotlight. Business in the back.
… just go with it.
In the first part of our PR Pointers series, we cover how to nail writing a basic press release, dissecting each element and what you can do to make your business stand out.
Check out this formatting guideline we’ve made for you to see how to structure the document, and then let’s get writing!
It’s typical of brands to want to throw their product and brand name front-and-center. But unless you’re a company with established brand recognition, it isn’t going to be compelling to the people that can put your news in front of thousands of readers.
It’s better to go with something that explains why your product matters to people:
Now that you grabbed their attention with the headline, you need to give them a bit more to hold onto. This is where you summarize the details in one short(ish) sentence. Try to cover the 5 W’s as succinctly as possible. For example:
Time to get down to business. Your opening paragraph should expand on the sub-heading. But this time instead of just hard facts, explain in more detail what your announcement is all about, and perhaps even more importantly, why they should care.
“It’s easy to fill up a page with a creative, colorful narrative” writes Zach Cutler, Cutler PR. “Leave the artistry to the writers — pack your press release with hard numbers that support the significance of your product or announcement. If you’re claiming a trend, you need proof to back it up. Quantify your argument and it will become much more compelling”
These few paragraphs are the meat-and-potatoes of your press release. A quote from the founder of the company to set the stage; stats you came across during your product research; a rave review from a customer. It’s all fodder for the fire you’re trying to light around your product, and quotes and stats aplenty make a more compelling story for the journalist who picks up your release.
Be sure to include a great lifestyle image. If you’re a shoe company, don’t include a picture of the shoe on a white background. Take a photo of a person wearing the shoe out on the town. This photo is an opportunity to put your product in the center of a scene your target market wants to be a part of.
Finish off your document with a link to more information on your website. A press release is meant to be a catalyst for a writer to want to dig deeper – deeper into the story of that product, and if you’re really good, the story of your company.
Want more? Next in our PR Pointers series, we’ll tackle how to build a Media Kit for your brand! And to wrap up the three-part course – how to get the press to actually care about them.