Press Release Tips To Get Yourself Noticed

A bit of PR is always a good move to promote yourself and rise above the noise of other businesses offering your type of service. As a freelancer, you are on your own, usually with no, to little budget to commit to activities like marketing, so a press release can be a great way to get noticed without a huge outlay of cash. Here’s a few tips on how to get that press release out and get your services on the radar of potential new clients. 

  1. Define your type of story

First off, you need a news story, so be sure you don’t write an advertorial or an editorial feature. This sounds obvious to some people but it can get blurry in practice.

A news story has to be a topical recent story – not a sales piece promoting a company. This does not mean the story cannot be about a business, far from it, as that’s the whole point but it does mean you can’t blatantly promote your services with a thin story or no story to go with it.

Press releases are usually aimed at newspapers, magazine or online news sections. Anything too salesy will get rejected by editors running news sections.

Adding a good image of the main ‘hero’ or product/service of the story, will double your chance of success. Make sure the resolution is 300DPI and that it is not a selfie or badly composed picture.

For many freelancers, local areas will be good targets to get clients which are easy to visit and pitch to, so local news is a good start for trying to get a story published. Here are a few ideas for stories that do often get accepted by local press:

A charity drive

A voluntary piece of work

Trying to overcome a big personal challenge

An award won

A new business or business concept

A local investment or sponsorship

An exhibition

A significant anniversary of a business

A new or unusual partnership

Personal stories that are locally relevant

  1. Examine and mimic your ideal target publications

The story you write needs to be aligned with the publication you are targeting.  So, if you want to get into a local paper the story needs to have local relevance – the same with a national paper. A magazine will similarly be themed and if the magazine accepts a press release, it is usually because it is tailored specifically for that magazine’s themes and style or to a section in it.

Your copy should reflect the style of the stories that you see in the publication you are hoping to be included in – don’t write too much or you’ll lose the impact. It might be formal, informal or have certain editorial quirks you need to be aware of. If you are aiming at one particularly publication, study the publication’s style and word count for news before beginning the press release.

  1. Follow the best format for press releases

Create a template for your press release – with your business logo at the top, the date to show this is recent and relevant and with a title that explains the story in one line. For instance – Local Art Designer Wins National Award.

The next two lines of the intro should neatly present a summary of the story to come.

For instance:

Joe Bloggs (25), founder of Art4You from Hammersmith in London, won the coveted National Art Award for magazine design on Saturday. He was presented with the award at the Excel centre by famous designer, Pete Goodbrush. The award comes with a £1000 prize.

In news you need to cover ‘what?’, ‘where?’, ‘how?’, ‘when?’ and ‘why?’ in the story.

The brand (the made-up example company, Art4You) is in the first line, notice – but this is just a frame for the rest of the story. Sometimes, excessive brand mentions make it too salesy so always make a mention of the brand an important part of the bigger story. Some publications only accept one mention of the brand in the submission.

Write the main story in 300-400 words and don’t waffle or waste words. Be efficient and keep the attention of the reader with good facts and a flowing writing style. Break up the text with two or three punchy subheadings with thoughtful, relevant keywords in them.

It’s OK to write as if you are speaking casually but make sure it is full of relevant information and has a start middle and conclusion. Include a quote or two from the relevant people in the story and avoid, where possible, clichés.

Including original quotes from the main story protagonists means there is a bit of reportage in there, which is good – it adds authenticity and authority.

Make sure you add the word ‘Ends’ after the last line of the story you want published so it is clear as you might want to add more information following on – which is just for the editor to read.

  1. Link it up

Include a link in the copy if you are aiming for online inclusion. There is a chance a hyperlink may remain in if the copy is cut and pasted.  Make sure the link has the full address so it begins with http://.

If you get a link into a strong local paper – it can boost your SEO, so anyone that types your business name, or a keyword in your story into a search engine, they will likely see your story high up in the results. If they see you are in the press, then that’s impressive as a first introduction. Newspapers rank high as a credible source of a story so search engine’s trust them when delivering results to people searching.

  1. Extras

Most press releases have extra information pertinent to the story following on when the story ends.

For example:

Add a NOTES section, including information such as:

About (the company, service or person)

A paragraph all about the brand or the main character.

Contact information

Include name, telephone, mobile, address, website and email.

Additional quotes

There is a chance you’ll get more column inches if you add other good quotes from relevant sources for your story and here is a good place, in the extra information – it means there is a buffet of extra additions to plug into the story if the story length needs to be increased. Same goes for adding a selection of good pictures, rather than just one.

  1. Chase-up the contact

Finally and importantly, don’t be shy, do get to know your editorial contacts of value. Call them so they know your voice. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they saw your story and get some feedback on what they thought. Some editors are swamped with press releases so you need to get noticed – so flag your story up in the first place with a phone call. It tells them you are serious and that you care about your story and they will notice submissions by you if you become a ‘real’ person rather than an ‘email’ or ‘company’.

For anyone on the Find a Creative Pro database, we’ll be promoting your work to potential clients and the news press in the future, to ensure you get noticed by companies looking for creative talents for their projects.