Here on the Association Insider, we talk a lot about ways to create content that resonates with your members. Whether that’s on your social media channels, through a post on your blog, or an article in your monthly newsletter, there are so many unique ways to connect with your audience. However, one source of content we don’t discuss frequently are press releases.

Are Press Releases Dead?

“A press release is an official announcement issued to the news media.The heading should contain action verbs, the first paragraph should answer the; who, what, why and where. The press release should contain understandable language and a quote.” – HubSpot

Press releases were once the primary tool for companies to share announcements. According to Forbes, however, press releases have now become nearly obsolete with over 63% of companies using Twitter or Facebook to share their news. Many professionals see press releases as an “antiquated and ineffective tactic,” for content sharing (John Rampton).

So why are we sharing a guide on how to write a press release, you ask? Aren’t press releases dead? Well, not exactly. Let’s take a closer look below.

Why Press Releases Are Still Useful

While it may seem that formal press releases are on a steady decline, they can still be useful in some situations. Becuase many companies forgo the formality of a press release and use social media or a blog post to release news updates, the market for press releases is fairly open, meaning the likelihood of readers noticing your press release increases greatly.

Furthermore, because press releases read differently than a blog post or a social media post, it can help you stand out from competitors. Press releases are also relatively inexpensive to produce, according to Unspun Marketing, a technology-driven marketing company in India. All you need to do is have someone write it, pass it off to PR, and then have it circulated by the media. Sounds like a pretty good way to get the word out, right?

Now that we know that a press release could be a unique way to get yourself in front of readers and promote your association, let’s review a few tips and tricks on writing a comprehensive press release. These tips come from a 2017 HubSpot Press Release Template.

How to Write a Press Release

When: “You’ve got your announcement in mind, and now it’s time to get it down in words to share with your community, industry, and followers.” (HubSpot)

Press releases should be used in very specific circumstances. For example, maybe you’ve just hired a new CEO or acquired a new company. That kind of news definitely garners a press release. It’s exciting and people need to know about it.  The media will want to share that news too, helping you get the word out even more.

When it comes to other topics like redecorating your conference room or allowing employees to bring their dogs to work? Probably not appropriate for a press release.

Structure: Just as you would any formal document, it’s important you follow the specific structure set for a press release. See the outline we’ve set below along with the attached example.

  • Letterhead
  • Date – “For Immediate Release”
  • Creative Headline
    • Media outlets get dozens of reports a day, so make sure yours stands out by writing a compelling headline.
  • Introduction Paragraph
    • Include your association, location, and a brief synopsis of the story.
  • Supportive Paragraph(s)
    • Explain what this press release is about and why it’s so important. Give detials but be succinct. Do not go over one page.
  • CTAs (Calls to Action)
    • Do you want your audience to take action after reading this document? Be clear about your expectations by including a CTA.
  • Conclusion
    • Any summary information
  • Media contact information

Image Credit: HubSpot

How To Publish Your Press Release

Now that you’ve written your press release, it’s time to publish. Think about who needs to see this document. What media contacts would be the most helpful in sharing this content? Compile a list of potential candidates and review it with the team. Once you’ve picked the most appropriate groups, send it out and publish a copy on your website.

Though press releases are on a steady decline, there is still a time and place for their use. Just be sure to consider your content and how to best share it whether that be through social media, a blog post, or a press release. Also keep in mind your audience and industry when making your decision.

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