The following post was written by Promo.com VP Communications Hila Shitrit Nissim, during her tenure as VP Marketing at Viola (2005-2017)
Much has been written about the new age of public relations and the transformation of the news industry. We’ve gone from the relative simplicity of a morning or an evening edition of a printed newspaper, to a 24/7 smorgasbord of online channels, and an era in which so many people rely on their Social Media feeds for most of their news updates (and maybe also the odd push notification from their favorite news apps). So what is a press release and why is it still an important tool for companies when done right?
A press release is a way for you to pitch your story to your customers or users, and to reporters who can help you tell the story not only to your audience but also to audiences that you might otherwise not be able to reach on your own.
Reporters usually have to sift through countless press releases every day as part of their job, which is why it’s so important to get your press release right, because if you don’t, not only might it be overlooked for publication, but if you haven’t written it well or conveyed the most important parts of your story, you will have wasted a great opportunity to get your intended message “out there”.
TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher wrote a post explaining why reporters hate dealing with lousy press releases and why we should do our very best to provide them with an excellent pitch which is clear, concise and to the point. The post was a little controversial and some people were offended by Butcher’s “less than delicate” tone, but his goal was to drive change, and personally I like that kind of straightforward writing style.
Although writing a press release is a daunting task for some, and especially for startups that may not have had much experience with press releases in the past, it really isn’t rocket science, and can actually be easy to master if you use a well-crafted template and some basic guidelines. This makes it easier not only for startups to write, but also for reporters to screen and decide whether it’s newsworthy or interesting.