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Are your press releases lazy or ready to work?

By: Beverly Ringstaff, ACS Advertising Creative Manager

Most press releases have a couple of purposes. 1) You have actual news to share: A new pay package, recently expanded regional routes, given an impressive award and so on. 2) You want to get your “old” news back into circulation: You have excellent equipment, you offer really meaningful home time options, generous bonuses are available etc. So, how can you accomplish both goals and increase the likelihood that your release will be picked up by various media outlets?

Most companies make the mistake of releasing information that is important to the company, but isn’t compelling news to anyone else. Carriers that want to send a release letting prospective drivers know they still have a sign-on bonus is along the lines of McDonald’s announcing they still sell the Big Mac. Everyone might be glad of the fact but it isn’t news. And a web site, magazine or newspaper isn’t going to bump actual news to print it.

Make sure the information you’re releasing is newsworthy. If your primary purpose is to reiterate that you still have openings you’re trying to fill in a particular area, find something new that has happened to lead off the story. For example, a recently hired safety director or operations manager can be the news in the release that leads into how they’re going to be supporting drivers ….and by the way, we still have openings in this area.

Your press release should really be working to “sell” a reporter/editor on your news. While there’s no guarantee of how or when he will use the story, getting the reporter/editor on-board is huge. People tend to believe what they read much more than the ads they see. Many studies have shown that a reader is seven times more likely to respond to a press release than to advertising and that articles written by reporters are four times more believable than advertisements.

That brings up another good point. Once you’ve made sure your release is newsworthy, think carefully about how you want the reader respond. Press releases that simply inform are lazy. You want the release to work for you in some way. Using the example above, even if you’ve hired the greatest safety director in the world, you don’t just want to tell that and stop. You want the release to entice a phone call or visit to your Facebook page or web site. Make sure you have some sort of call to action for the reader. They’ve read your “new” news and your “old” news and are ready to act. Have a specific action for them to take.

Finally, some basic tips to best ensure your release gets into Google News, include the following
Write at least 125 words
Keep your headline between 2 and 22 words
Start your release with a three sentence paragraph

If you need help crafting press releases that work, we’re always ready to help with that at ACS Advertising!

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