Avoid these mistakes to get your press release picked up
You have worked tirelessly on your business plan, committed yourself financially, professionally and emotionally to a business that you believe in – a business that you are betting on to succeed – and now it is time to share that with the world. Now it is time to write a business launch press release that works as hard for you as you have worked getting to this point.
Before you send out your business launch press release, learn the five mistakes that keep your press release from getting picked up and how to avoid them.
1. Your Business is the super, ultimate, unprecedented gamechanger
Superlatives and business jargon will not get your release picked up, nor will they help to explain what your business actually does or what unique value it brings to your market.
Show your audience, in concrete terms, why your business matters and why it is important to them. Remember, in the world of writing, a press release is not persuasive, it is informative. Make sure your release provides valuable information that prompts action (like getting the release picked up, or getting a call from a journalist who wants to write an article on your launch).
Let the information you provide, not the fancy language you cloak it in, promote the action you want.
2. Important information is hard to find.
Journalists are constantly messaged and you don’t have much time to make your message stand out. Make important information easy to find.
Lead with details that are relevant and interesting, particularly people involved in the launch or launch events. Mention a recognizable keynote speaker or a well known strategic partner or team member in the first paragraph of your release. Highlight unique features of your product or business services, mention key partnerships, and source quotes clearly.
Include your press contact information at the top of the release to promote media interest and to make quick follow-ups easy.
3. You are breaking convention/not following standard format for a business press release
Business press releases have a few standard elements that must be included in order for the release to be considered. Every press release needs a press contact (name, email, phone number); an attention grabbing title; the date and location of the release; and a strong About Paragraph that explains what your business does. Stronger press releases also include a short subtitle that underscores the relevance of your news.
Other standard style conventions apply to press releases. Remember the following when writing your business launch press release:
Use Active Voice Verbs
Keep your message in the present and keep your readers moving through your text.
Passive Voice (NOT what you want in your business launch press release):
Members of the team are relied upon to provide consulting services for small business owners…
Active Voice (use active voice in your business launch press release):
Team members consult small business owners…
Active voice is easy to understand and it allows the reader to digest your information quickly. More importantly, it is how journalists write, so if you want a journalist to pull directly from your release when writing about your business, be sure to write in the same tense that she does.
Avoid flowery language. Use simple, clear verbs. Avoid exclamation points.
A press release is like a good old fashioned detective story: it’s all about the who, what, when, where, why. Remember, your press release is an information tool, not a marketing piece or an exercise in creative writing.
Keep this in mind for introducing quotes.
No matter how excited you are about your news, this does not appear in your business launch press release:
CEO Jeff Smart exclaims, “We are bringing innovative software tools to small businesses with limited budgets!”
CEO Jeff Smart says, “We are bringing innovative software tools to small businesses with limited budgets.”
This may look like a difference in wording that is too small to matter, but it is not. Following conventions and adhering to standard styles communicates that you are professional and that you understand and respect the media relationship that you are engaging in when you write and send a press release.
4. Lengthy text overwhelms your message.
If your business launch press release is full of too much detail that only matters to you, you are the only one who will read it.
Remember, brevity is best. Journalists write for a living and they do it well, so you don’t need to write the article for them. You need to demonstrate to journalists why your business matters, what need it serves and how it relates to trends, fills gaps, provides value or connects to the interests of their readers.
But journalists aren’t the only ones who read your press release. Releases can be published in full on media sites, and used as part of your overall communications strategy, particularly around the time you are launching your business. You will include your business launch press release in Media Kits and Press Kits, sales folders, and outreach to prospective partners, colleagues and customers.
First, define your audience. Are you reaching out to strategic partners, prospective customers, local government? Determine what you know about these groups. Once you know who your audience is, identify what matters to them and communicate clearly and directly.
5. No one knows who you are or what you’re all about
Do not send out your business launch press release before including a clear, concise About Paragraph at the end. An effective About Paragraph is repeatable, understandable and actionable. Remember that all of the content in a press release can be reprinted as part of an article about your company.
Journalists look to the About Paragraph at the end of the release for background. This is the perfect place to include the information you want associated with your business name whenever your business is mentioned. The About Paragraph should include your company’s core message: the who, what, when, where, why of your business.