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Top ten tips for the perfect press release

Discover how to write successful press releases that get found online

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Public relations (PR), including writing and distributing press releases, may be new territory for most small business owners – but a PR campaign can help to get your business precious exposure, often for free! At the heart of any successful campaign is a well-written press release. Read our top tips on how to get yours right. 1. Find the ‘human' angle The story your press release focuses on must be newsworthy. Loads of people ask us what makes a ‘newsworthy' story and the key thing is a ‘human' angle. ‘What's that?' I hear you cry! It means it needs to be interesting to Joe Bloggs round the corner or the intern at your competitors. 2. Know your audience It's that simple. It's very rare that a press release will appeal to absolutely everyone, targeting the right publications - and therefore the right audience - will do more good than trying to blanket cover everyone. 3. Keep it relevant Your story has to be relevant to the audience you're targeting. You may want to start selling your product to people outside of your local area, but that doesn't mean your press release is relevant to the people in that area. When it comes to local press especially, it has to appeal to people in that area, affect them in some way, or be about the area. If it's not, it just won't get published. 4. Be on time Timing is key when it comes to press release distribution. There are a few factors to consider with regards to time. If your story is about an event it's important to get the release sent out in plenty of time. Publications take different amounts of time to publish articles, so it's worth thinking about where you want to see it first. It's also worth thinking about what's going on at the time. If there's a major event happening or a big story breaking it's a good idea to hold off until it dies down. 5. Keep it simple, stupid Keep your message simple, and stick to just one message per release. It's no good putting lots of great news in one release as it will get lost. 6. Use facts (not opinions) Unless you are specifically aiming for an opinion piece, opinion just won't cut it. News stories must be backed up my facts.: If you're shouting about how much your business can help the local economy then use a quote from a satisfied customer to back it up. If you're telling the world how ‘green' your product is then get some figures about carbon footprints. It all helps to give you, your business and your story more credibility. 7. Always include your contact details Every press release should have relevant contact details on. Make sure it's a direct line or your mobile number. If a journalist has to go through a receptionist and a long line of questions, they'll give up! The details you put on the release won't actually be published, it's purely so a journalist can get in touch with you. 8. Make sure you're available It's no good providing direct contact details if you're off on your holiday the next day. Make sure whoever the contact is will be available and is confident and trustworthy enough to answer questions, not only over the phone, but face to face or even live on air. If the opportunity arises you don't want to let it slip away. 9. Make the most of social media Journalists are always looking for a ‘scoop' or a story that no one else has covered yet, and a great way for them to find it is online. Make sure you're promoting your release on Twitter, via blogs and other social networking sites to get the most exposure. 10. Optimize your press release for search engines Maximise the coverage your press release gets by making it easier for search engines to find. Make sure you get some of your website's keywords and links back to your website into your release, and then if it gets published online it will help towards your SEO. To find out how the Forum can help you get started with PR, marketing and social media, call us on 0845 130 1722.