//PRESS RELEASE: TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Learn how to write a Press Release that'll get noticed
Whether you are a large resort or a small family-run B&B, you have the opportunity to attract the interest of local press and media, magazines, newspapers and online news sites if you have a story that is interesting and relevant to their audience.
We spoke with former editor of The Australian newspaper, Lara Sinclair, and asked for her expert tips on crafting the ultimate press release.
“To write a simple press release, think about the basic message you want to communicate to your target customers.
“An example might be: Lodge X has opened a new wing featuring self-catered family-style ski accommodation,” Lara says. Here are her tips for writing a press release.
Step 1: Put it in a headline.
e.g. Lodge X offers luxury entertainment experience in new family ski suites.
Step 2: Identify any elements unique to your business.
e.g. A special offer on family ski lift tickets if you book by x date; gaming console and cinema-style TV screens in every suite and Netflix access – or whatever it might be. A story with a unique angle is much more likely to get a run than something an editor or journalist has read or seen many times before.
Step 3: Identify how your news fits in with any local trends happening in your market.
e.g. Research from Lodge X customers shows families are looking to increase the number of skiing trips they make per year but are looking for more flexible accommodation arrangements including better in-suite entertainment options.
Step 4: Look for stats and figures that back this up.
e.g. Figures from local tourism bureaus how families increased the number of skiing trips they made from an average of 1.2 per year to 1.6 per year between 2014 and 2016; exclusive research from your own customers.
Step 5: Get two or three quotes from relevant people.
e.g. Lodge X owner or marketing manager.
“Our new family ski suites offer the latest in entertainment options, as well as beautiful, modern kitchen facilities, to ensure young families have the most luxurious, affordable and entertaining skiing holiday available.”
Step 6: Think about your target audience.
Who are they and where do they get their information about accommodation such as yours? e.g. travel newsletters, online travel outlets, magazines, newspaper travel sections, travel apps, travel blogs, etc.
Look at those outlets and check out the types of stories they typically run about companies similar to yours. Identify the email address of the key contact person, e.g. editor, accommodation writer, etc.
List your outlets in priority order. Determine if they require ‘exclusive’ information to run the story. If so, prioritise and approach one at a time with the story. Otherwise send to all key relevant outlets at the same time.
Write your release in a pyramid formation to suit that outlet with the most important facts at the top, as follows:
Headline: (include reference to your unique news) Explanatory ‘kicker’ – a bullet point that gives a bit more context to the headline.
Release details: Date release is being sent out, and location of company headquarters.
Intro paragraph: The who, what, when, where – including reference to your unique ‘news’ or special offer.
2nd paragraph: Explain why you’re doing this – i.e. the benefit to your target customers.
3rd paragraph: Provide background (market context, trends, key industry statistics).
4th paragraph: Insert quote of key person at your company. 5th paragraph: Include one or two additional facts about your news event or your company.
6th paragraph: Additional market context.
7th paragraph: Quote from credible external source about how you’re meeting a definite need e.g. tourist bureau.
8th – 9th paragraph: Background information comprising a brief history of your company e.g. Lodge X opened its doors in X location, catering for the budget accommodation market and has since expanded to X lodges in X locations.
1. Include the date the release was sent out, company headquarters location, contact details for the key contact person e.g. PR officer, marketing manager or CEO. Also include your company’s owned channels e.g. website address, social handles.
2. Ensure you have three or four different photographs of the destination, key spokesperson or new offer.
3. Choose a key spokesperson for the story. Make sure your company knows to direct any media queries to your communications contact or key spokesperson.
Ensure your key spokesperson has been briefed on the details and timing of the story and is available to take calls about it in the 24 hours after the release is sent out. Think about how you will respond to any negative questions the media outlet/s you approach are likely to ask e.g. “Lodge Y across the road tried this two years ago and failed. Why would your offering succeed?”
4. Call and pitch your story to your key outlet or outlets, email the release and be ready to send images if required, or line up interviews with your key spokesperson if required.
5. Monitor those outlets for coverage. Promote on your social channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
6. Send a follow-up email to media if you have had no response in case your first one was overlooked and ask if they require any additional information.
7. Record coverage – monitor the response received.
8. Calculate the return on your PR investment.