Okay – so a few days ago we talked about how to put together a press list. For those of you who are just checking into our March Marketing Madness series, I recommend reading that post first.
Now we’re going to put that list into action by learning how to craft an engaging press release (and also how to follow up after submitting that press release!). Ready……set…..here we go!
Step 1: Decide what kind of press release you’re going to create. You can create a press release that focus on lots of different angles. You may want to craft a story with a specific media outlet or reporter in mind, or you may want to draw attention to something specific to your practice, like an event or workshop. Some examples of various releases you could create:
- An big event hosted by your business
- A story of how music therapy is impacting the community
- A story of the role music therapy plays in the lives of a particular client or family
- A general release about your practice and the services you offer
Step 2: Start with a great headline. Make it catchy and engaging. Reporters see TONS of press releases come by their desk any given day. Craft something that will grab their attention.
Step 3: Give them all the details – clearly and concisely . Keep your press release short and to the point. Give all of the details clearly while still keeping things interesting and engaging. This can sometimes be tricky! It can be helpful to read a lot of examples first.
Step 4: Find some great quotes. Offering multiple prospectives in your release can be a really engaging way to show how you are impacting the community. See if you can grab a few really stellar quotes that line up with the angle you’ve chosen to focus your release around.
Step 5: Make sure to include contact information for yourself and your business. If you’re story gets picked up, chances are the reporter will want some follow up information. Make it SUPER easy for them to find your website and get a hold of you!
- Keep it short - your release should be limited to one page – tops! If it gets picked up the reporter can grab more details and flesh things out from there.
- Focus on your angle - know who you’re writing for and write with a tone that appeals to those readers. For example, if you’re writing for parents, try to avoid lots of complicated clinical jargon.
- Give lots of lead time - Typically the reporters we work with have expressed that they like to see things at least 3 weeks in advance so they can schedule time to follow up or attend the event.
- Be patient! You never really know what’s going to get picked up! Sending out press releases is kind of a gamble, you never know what your contacts are currently looking for or what they might be interested in following up with.
Sending It Out and Following Up
So…you’ve crafted your AWESOME press release and now you’re going to send it out to your contacts on your press list. Make sure you go through you list and match up the right contacts with the angle of your story – remember, you’re working to cultivate a relationship with these contacts, so you want to make sure that they will eventually trust that you you send them will be worth their time.
After you’ve sent it out, you’ll want to follow up after a few days. You can do it either via email or phone. (I always prefer to follow up via phone – I think it helps build a stronger relationship. But above all, respect the preferences of your contact). They key to following up is to be helpful and engaging. Don’t nag them about your release or make them feel guilty for not responding. Simply state that you sent a press release a few days ago and that you wanted to follow up and see if there was any additional information they might find helpful. This can just help to keep you on their radar.
*Note: You may not get a reply from some of your contacts. That’s okay! Keep in mind that these individuals are usually bombarded with stuff like this! Keep on sending a few stories.