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Successful Press Releases

A 103-Year-Old Strategy That Will Enhance Your Image

On October 28, 1906, one of Pennsylvania Railroad's three-car trains jumped a trestle in Atlantic City and plunged into a creek.

At least 50 people lost their lives … not only a tremendous personal tragedy, but the makings of a public-relations nightmare.

Back then, the public-relations industry was relatively new. The term "public relations" had made its first appearance just nine years earlier … in a book about railway literature, of all places. And Pennsylvania Railroad's PR firm, Parker and Lee, was only the third agency of its kind established in the United States.

Immediately after the accident, junior partner Ivy Lee convinced his client of the benefits of proactively controlling how this tragic event would be reported to the public … to ensure accuracy and prevent the spread of rumors and misinformation.

So, with his client's approval, Lee issued a written statement about the accident, and the "press release" was born.

As a result, Pennsylvania Railroad was praised by both newspapers and public officials for its openness and honesty in the weeks that followed.

Now, 103 years later, in addition to helping control public opinion during a company crisis, press releases are used to announce all sorts of company news, such as charity functions, online seminars, live presentations, new products or services, new hires, company awards, company mergers, etc.

Successful Press Releases for Your Business

Knowing the history of the press release may be informative, but how can you use press releases successfully in your business?

Regardless of what you're announcing, there are three essential steps to running a press release:

  1. Structuring and writing your press release.
  2. Distributing your press release.
  3. Tracking the effectiveness of your press release.

While the structure and content of a press release are critical to its success, they are relatively easy to master. Kethyr Solutions has developed the following seven "must-have" components for successful press releases:

  1. The company logo and release time — Your company logo should appear in the top left-hand corner of the press release, with the words "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" under it.
     
  2. A header and a subhead — Just like a headline is to a sales letter, the header is the most important part of your press release. It has to capture your reader's attention by providing him with unique and useful information. The subhead is a way to reinforce the main headline by providing an additional benefit to the reader.
     
  3. An opening paragraph — Usually only a few sentences in length, the opening paragraph provides your reader with the answers to the questions: Who? What? Where? Why? How?
     
  4. The body copy — Here, you need to provide your reader with new information related to the topic of your press release. Just like in a good sales letter, statistics and quotes help build credibility. Plus, members of the media love seeing statistics and quotes in a press release, because they can use them in their own reporting.
     
  5. Request that your reader take action — You should always let your reader know what you'd like him to do as a result of reading your press release. For example, you can ask him to call a sales representative, donate funds, go to your website, etc.
     
  6. "About the Company" section — Next, add one or two paragraphs about your company at the end of your press release. Once you write this section, you can use it in all your future press releases.
     
  7. Media contact information — Lastly, add your company name and contact information.

Pretty simple, huh?

While we pride ourselves on writing highly successful press releases for our clients, we won't feel bad if you want to give it a try yourself. Just remember, every press release you write needs to be distributed…

Should you distribute your press release to local business journals? Professional association newsletter editors? Online press release distribution services?

Kethyr Solutions won't just write a well-crafted press release and leave you hanging. We'll help you decide the most cost-effective distribution and tracking options available that meet your needs.

Should You Do It Yourself or Take Advantage of Kethyr Solutions?

While you can do the whole thing yourself — from writing the release to mailing it out — like most other forms of marketing, successful press releases involve both art and science.

After launching a website last year, one of our clients wrote a press release, got two boxes of envelopes, a ream of paper and 100 first-class stamps. She was understandably excited about sending all those press releases out … until she actually began.

For a press release to generate publicity, you need to send it to relevant publications and to the right reporter or editor within that publication. Otherwise, it will probably end up in the trash.

She found out quickly how much time it took to research all the media and find the right contact person. There are directories of media contacts you can buy, but those are expensive. So, only 23 mailings later, we got a call. We discussed her options with her and what ended up making the most sense was to use an online press release distribution service. In the end, PRWeb (http://www.prweb.com) distributed her release 30,000 times for $80.

PRWeb is one firm that we recommended and have helped our clients use effectively, but there are many other options. You can also check out The Publicity Hound (http://www.publicityhound.com) for lots of tips on getting publicity, information on other online press release distribution services, and articles on how to write press releases.

Lastly, a word of warning … It can be weeks or months before a media outlet uses your news release. And even those that appear to be happy to run it might choose not to use it at the last minute.

Given this, it is necessary to use click-through rates, landing pages, and other methods to track your press releases over time so you can see which are more effective and repeat your success not your mistakes.

If you're inclined, give it a try yourself. Just remember that we're here to help when you need it!

From consulting with you on the most effective ways to use press releases, to structuring and writing attention getting releases, getting them in front of the people who matter most, and tracking your results, if you're looking for a public relations firm without having to pay PR firm prices, contact us today!

Press releases are a cost-effective way to promote your business. If you're ready to use press releases to market your business, or are just curious to know more about how they can help you, we'll be happy to show you the way to successful press releases!

Contact Kethyr Solutions today for more information or call us toll-free at 888-538-4971.

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