How do you send out a press release? Established companies have large PR agencies to do their PR work, medium-sized firms will hire small PR agencies or PR freelancers. As a startup that may have just closed a small seed round, or if you’re bootstrapping, then it can seem challenging to get press. Don’t worry, however, it’s not all that complicated.
The first thing to ask yourself, is your announcement press-worthy?
If Sheryl Sandberg joined your company, you’re press-worthy, if you just launched your app’s MVP, you’re not press worthy. The reality is that business announcements from small companies aren’t that exciting for anyone but the business owner and their immediate families. If you raised money, the lead investor should IMO cover the PR associated with the transaction.
When should I send out a press release?
Some PR distribution services will post follow links, this in and of itself will help you with your SEO and increase your PageRank with Google. If you have actual news, say BMW chose you as their SatNav application and you’ve cleared legal and BMW says you can announce, then you have something to talk about. Consider a press release news.
A quick guideline on what is newsworthy is: New key hires, new investments, astronomical growth and we mean astronomical, a good story, and this last one is incredibly important. Is your news a good story?
So now you’ve decided that a press release is something you want to pursue, but how do you actually send out a press release?
How do I send out a press release?
Start with a checklist:
A compelling headline: A good headline will draw readers in. It should be engaging and factually accurate. If you’re unsure where to start or how your headline should sound, browse the web or a newspaper and pick out headlines that really grab your attention. When writing yours, make sure it clearly expresses what your ‘news’ is.
Important facts at the top: Follow the Inverted Pyramid guideline and place all of the pertinent information about your product or service in the first paragraph. Often, the media will not read further if they aren’t interested. Grab their attention right away and you’ll get noticed.
Add the human element: Adding a quote from your president, CEO or one of your satisfied customers can go a long way in getting your press releases seen. People are also naturally drawn to the human element, and data proves this.
Contact information: If reporters are interested in your story, they need to be able to contact you! In addition to including your contact information at the top of the press release, make sure to include some additional information about you and your company at the end of the press release in an ‘about’ section. You can provide relevant links to pictures, your website and your company’s vision and mission statement.
This is the basic checklist. Remember, tell a story. Here’s an example form a well know fruit company about appointing their new CEO.
Once your press release is written, proofed, spell checked, grammar checked, visit any of these websites, sign up with a throwaway email, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, as press release distribution sites are notorious for selling your emails. Next, publish your release on your site, then send your press release to all of them – consider it content syndication.
Fee Press Release Distribution Websites
: 24-7 Press Release
: 1888 Press Release
: Click Press
: Express Press Release – From the onset looks U.S. only, and limited to major states
: Free Press Release
: Free Press Release Center
: Newswire Today * – recommended
: PR Inside – German & English
: PR Buzz
: PR Leap
: PR Log
: PR Urgent
: Press About
: Press Method
: Press Release Point
: The Open Press
: Ecommerce Wire
With that done, you should also consider contacting bloggers with your industry focus, they often have large active readerships and can help spread the word on whatever it is you’re releasing to the press, this was a tactic used by Ryan Holiday, who wrote the book “Trust Me, I’m Lying”
You can also play the role of the public relations person, build relationships with bloggers, journalists, etc… but this takes time and you ought to be running your company instead. Bake your PR strategy into your marketing plan and remember that time management and prioritization are absolutely key for founders. Your time is worth money, remember that, especially if you’re early. Look for young hungry PR companies, they pop up all the time, they’ll need clients to build their portfolios, you’ll need press. It’ll work.