Press releases are a valuable tool for communicating important information, managing crises and maintaining a presence within your industry.
While press releases are a traditional form of communication, they’re not necessarily an easy one — at least not if they’re done well.
A well-crafted B2B press release has to fulfill several objectives in a concise space and do it in a way that garners attention from the media you’re targeting. It can be a daunting task, so it’s no wonder they often read like fill-in-the-blank templates churned about by a Press Releases R Us.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Press releases from B2B companies can and should offer a better experience for both the journalists who receive them and the company that sends them out.
Here are six common mistakes in writing a B2B press release and tips for avoiding them.
Hear me out here. Press releases are a valuable tool, but they should be deployed with precision and discretion. Blasting out a press release with no real objective or understanding of the audience provides no value and can hurt your credibility in the long run.
Don’t just assume that everything should be a press release. Consider what kind of coverage you’re hoping to get and from whom. What information is important to that audience? What is compelling enough to make them want to stop and read? It likely isn’t that Gladys from accounting just celebrated 10 years with your company.
Viable topics for a B2B press release might include original research, major awards won, new c-level appointments, philanthropic initiatives, a new product or service launch, or a new client or partnership.
Just as with a blog or article, there’s a lot of power in the headline of a news release. It should be concise and descriptive but compelling. It should convey to the journalist reading it why it’s worth their time and what their readers are going to get from it.
The headline is your pitch, so make sure it has a newsworthy angle.
One tip to help with headline writing: write it at the end. Writing the body of your press release first can help crystallize the message in your mind, helping you come back to that challenging task of writing the headline with a better sense of what the key takeaways are.
Your press release is going to a news organization, so write it like it’s a news story. No news story ever started with words like “delighted” or “excited” or “proud.” Be objective. Be factual. Use third-person.
Quotes are an area where a little fluff can make its way in — it does help to humanize the press release and the people depicted in it — but make sure they still convey information and push the story forward. Use quotes to react, interpret and explain the facts that are contained elsewhere in the release.
Try removing the quotes from your press release and reading it. If it still makes complete sense, your quote isn’t adding value.
Unless you’re directing your release only at a very narrow range of highly knowledgeable experts in your industry, avoid jargon. It’s best to assume your audience has a minimal but not necessarily expert grasp of your material.
Oversimplify if you must. It’s a press release, not a technical manual. Use straightforward language that can be understood by anyone who might be reading.
Even in an online media world where physical space is not the issue it once was, it’s not uncommon for publications to trim releases down to their essential elements prior to publishing.
A strong first paragraph that summarizes the content to come is the best starting point, followed by a few paragraphs of supporting information and detail.
The easiest way I’ve found to accomplish this is to write until my heart’s content and then go back and edit ruthlessly. Laying everything out can help you identify the elements that aren’t all that important or that slow the reader down.
There’s almost no piece of content that wouldn’t be better if it told a story, rather than just conveyed information. B2B press releases are no different.
Look for the bigger story behind the facts you’re sharing. It’s not just that you sponsored a local event; it’s that your company is an integral member of this community that you love. You didn’t just win an award; you had this moment in the sun today because you’ve been doing right by your customers for years.
Press releases are an important part of an overall public relations strategy. Learn more about setting yourself up for overall success here.