What Can You Write About in a News Release?
I Suggest 10 Good Subjects
By Gerald G. Smith, BS, MBA – Certified SCORE Mentor
Here are some subjects you can use to get your business in the news with good press releases. Of course you have to use a good format and write well, but first, you need a good subject that will grab the interest of readers and journalists.
1. Share new market surveys you have conducted
An easy way to conduct your own survey is to develop a short list of questions that your potential customers would be interested in. Then go to a place where you will encounter the people you want to survey (a street corner, a trade show [with permission]) and get 100 people to answer as you read the questions. It is easy to develop percentages for each answer. Journalists love stats and surveys. They find ready-made stories in this type of news release.
Readers also love sharing them in a big way, via links, Tweets, Facebook and other communication channels. Just one good figure can get you major coverage. They have to reference your company as the source.
P.S. Put the best nugget from your poll in your headline to get attention fast.
2. Promote your event or sponsorship, before the event
Sponsoring a local team or event is a great way to reach local customers if you publish a news release promoting your involvement. It’s added publicity for them, and it’s great publicity for you. It connects you to customers and journalists looking for the team/event.
P.S. Promote sponsorship anniversaries, too. A 10th or 25th anniversary of a sponsorship is as newsworthy (if not more so) as a new sponsorship.
P.P.S. Having an annual event on a particular holiday will allow you to promote again and again.
3. Share how your event was a big hit
You organized an event – nice story. Now get some more coverage. Recapping its success once it is over gives you a brand new story angle for no extra legwork. Who attended? Which speakers stood out? What was the highlight? Let the world know.
P.S. This can be a pretty long release. That is okay. Details not only make your story interesting, they also help make an impression that sticks in readers’ minds. Make it easy for journalists to pick out the details they want to run with. I use bold letters and/or different color fonts.
4. Tell the public about your latest award or research breakthrough
Let the world know about it the next time you win an award or have a major breakthrough. It does not matter how unimportant the award is. The world does not know that. By the same token, do not think that because the award is well known in your industry, everybody knows what it means. Be sure to explain how important it is. A news release can take the story beyond your industry and connect you with all sorts of new potential customers.
P.S. You can also publicize an award that one of your suppliers has won. You are selling award-winning products. Tell everybody about it.
5. Tell an inspirational story
Journalists and their readers love to hear about people overcoming adversity, going the extra mile, or becoming successful through their own hard work and smarts. Tying your company or product to a personal story is very effective. Instead of stating that handicapped employees enjoy opportunities with your company, chose an employee who has been successful and tell her story.
P.S. Using quotes from the individual or group you are writing about greatly increases the impact of the story.
6. Provide free educational information
A large portion of the population is hungry for education. They quickly register for adult education programs and seek new information daily. You can tap into that almost universal desire by offering white papers, seminars, and various forms of communications on your industry news and technology. You can speak or write about a number of subjects and include your latest initiative, event, product or service. This sort of news can build your credibility with readers and provide a resource they might share with others.
P.S. If you plan a seminar or other event, be sure to send a separate shorter release to those media that carry a calendar of events.
7. Throw light on a myth
If you go outside without a coat you will catch a cold. Fat children grow up to be slim adults. There are probably dozens of myths that relate to your industry, and a news release is a great way to expose them, while providing you with good publicity. It is also the kind of “I-told-you-so” story that people love to email to their friends.
P.S. You can debunk a myth and promote your brand at the same time. For example, a salon might debunk the myth that all women end up with naturally beautiful “silvery-white hair” while marketing their brand as the salon that can make your hair beautifully gray.
8. Brag about a charitable contribution
Bragging is what news releases are all about. A news release about your latest generous contribution can help generate awareness and credibility for the cause you believe in. It can also help your business. You get positive media coverage and connect your business with the many consumers that believe in your cause.
P.S. Be sure the charity is a popular one that is easy for people to understand. Give details about the charity and how it works. It also helps if there is some connection between the charity and your industry or market.
9. Let everyone know you won a legal case
This can be very important even if you are not a law firm. If your business or organization wins any lawsuit or court ruling that can bring you good publicity, the public ought to know about it, especially if there was publicity about it when the case was first brought. You may need to clear your good name or promote the product or service that was under attack.
P.S. Curtail or explain jargon to keep non-legal and non-industry readers interested.
10. Give folks helpful tips
Offering tips, hints, and guidelines is very much the going thing these days, as is the way they are often offered, in a specific number such as these 10 tips you are reading at this moment. These often become editorial articles in their own right. If you sell bicycles, provide tips on how to use them or where to ride them. If you sell cameras, publish a list of photo composition tips. If your product relates to the tips you provide, promote it. People are always out there searching for hints on how to use your type of product better.
P.S. Keep it to just a few brilliant tips, instead of a long list that might include several useless ones. 10 is a good number, so I think I will stop right here.