As part of our ongoing conversation about brand building and positioning, I’m back to the subject of how repurposing web content and articles can build your brand. You can turn content into press releases for the local and/or national press. Let’s learn how.
Press Releases, for Brand Building and Positioning
A press release is a public relations strategy designed to pique the interest of journalists, in the hope that one (or more) will contact you get “the rest of the story.” Often, the press release will be used as-is in a newspaper or magazine. Other times, the journalist will request an interview and rewrite the article for publication.
Press releases, if well-written and placed into the right hands, can lead to television spots, feature articles in major publications, enhanced industry visibility…and ultimately, new clients.
Press releases are valuable tools for brand building and positioning. How to Build a Brand have noticed that the best ones have all the following traits in common:
- They are newsworthy. Some examples of newsworthy subjects are new product releases, event announcements, procedural changes of public interest, new hires, etc.
- They answer the question, “Why should I care?”
- They grab attention early – with the headline and hook.
- They adhere to an inverted pyramid, journalistic, style of writing.
- They are standard in format, but extraordinary in subject matter.
- They make the brand highly accessible, with simple contact details.
Nine Steps for Writing Press Releases that Build Brands
- Write a headline that is provocative, industry-relevant, and emotionally charged for your audience. Centre it at the top of the page and use bold print. Follow it with a subheading, in italics. If the press release will be published on the web, include keywords.
- Include the words “For Immediate Release” at the top of the press release. If it’s not meant for immediate release, then state the date on which any resulting article may be released.
- The first paragraph should open with the date and the geographical location from which the news originated. The first sentence is what is considered the hook, and should summarize the story (In an inverted pyramid style, the most important information is presented first, followed by details in descending order of importance.) This first paragraph should contain the most crucial information.
- In supporting paragraphs, include proof of what you’re saying. This includes verifiable facts, statistics, quotes, etc. This is not the place for creative writing – stick to the facts that reinforce your message.
- Leave your opinion out of it. Give supporting facts so that the journalist (and future readers) will come to that opinion for themselves. Obviously, you think this subject is newsworthy. That can go without saying; however, I think a quote is a great way to humanise the press release and to interject the speaker’s opinion – not the writer’s.
- Include your name, phone number, and other contact information so interested journalists can easily get in touch.
- Keep it short. One page is ideal and sufficient for brand building and positioning.
- You may wish to provide links to other accomplishments or to your main website, so that the journalist can gather some background information if he or she wishes.
- The last paragraph is your chance to tout some of your brand’s accomplishments. Use a mission statement or list of awards here.
I would like to stress that not everything that is exciting for your brand is relevant to your industry. This is where a bit of subjectivity comes in. Will your audience find the content you’ve just written to be simply useful, or will they consider it newsworthy? If newsworthy is the answer, then by all means, convert that content to a press release – for more brand building and positioning power.
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