Here at Imperium, we write many different kinds of pieces for our clients, including blogs, interviews, profiles, thought-leader pieces, and press releases. As common as they are in the world of public relations, that last one often makes our clients pause because they are asked to provide something that seems difficult: news.
It’s easy to understand people’s uncertainty. After all, “news” seems like something only well-established companies like Microsoft can provide. How can a startup or a small business come up with enough news to make a press release interesting? It’s a fair question, and the answer will lie in how well you do one thing from the very beginning: prepare for the day when you will release a press release.
Simply put, a press release is an official statement that your company releases to the media so that it can then be distributed to the public. It is considered to be a primary source document since you are its author vs. something that is written by a reporter.
Press releases are normally more factual or objective in tone than other kinds of articles. A press release will center around a specific piece of news, or perhaps multiple, that you want the public to know. What you choose, of course, is designed to create a specific image of your company.
Ah, now we’re getting to it: what qualifies as news? The longer you are in business, the easier it will likely become to answer this question, but when you’re just starting out, this can seem a bit of a mystery.
First, “news” can be almost anything - any update that makes your company look good in some way.
Second, it helps to remember that you don’t have to compete with Microsoft and the other heavyweights in terms of news. Let them do their thing, and you will do yours. This is not necessarily about what anyone else is releasing. Instead, it’s about looking at your own company, understanding what’s happening, and using that to your advantage.
We talked in another blog post about the need for your company to have a historian: that person who is in charge of documenting the milestones in the life of your business. In the early days, that’s probably you since you are so intimately involved in building your company.
So, today - not tomorrow - grab a notebook or create a Google document, whatever works for you, and set up your ironclad system for jotting down every newsworthy thing that happens regarding your company.
When you get your articles of incorporation, write down the date and milestone. When your social media pages and website go live, write it down and the date. When you open your doors, write that down and the date. When you hire your first employee, write that down and the date. When your first shipment arrives, write that down and the date. When you launch your podcast, write that down and the date. You get the idea. Jot down absolutely everything that happens and the date so that you can create a complete history of your company.
No, of course not. But, in writing it down in your company’s history book, you are creating the context for those bigger events. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Your press release may be about the launch of your company, but if you can flip through your notes and see what else was happening at that time, you can pull out more details that can make the press release fuller. Or not - in the world of writing, where everything is maddeningly subjective, whether or not a detail gets used “just depends.” That Facebook launch may be mentioned or chucked in the trash.
Again, there is no magic formula for this, but usually the best press releases don’t have more than 3-4 pieces of news. Less is more, in this case. Otherwise, you risk cluttering up the press release and dramatically diluting its impact.
As for what you actually select, again, it just depends. It’s a matter of looking at what you want to accomplish with your press release and then choosing the right details. This is a whole lot easier to do if you have your history book to flip through, reminding yourself of everything that’s happened in the life of your company.
We believe the answer is yes. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and no one is going to check its grammar and spelling. But, having a document that captures all of those big and small moments will be worth its weight in PR gold.
Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
For more information about Imperium Group, please see https://navigator.imperiumgrouppr.com/.