25 February 2016,

The Press Release: How to build and distribute a winner


Keep three keys in mind in your press release: Write action, Write place, Write time.

By Curtis Kitchen, NAA Director of Publications and Trade Show

As the concepts of Owned Media (media a company controls) and niche content have matured (and public confidence in traditional journalism has waned), the press release once again has proven its immense value in helping control a narrative.

Marketers who best use their Owned Media channels and build trust with their audiences are in the best position – they become a trusted source for their own company’s or client’s news.

Much of that trust building comes through timely, factual information, presented in predictable fashion. And, it’s here where a solid press release can pay great dividends. But, what constitutes a “solid” release? There are three key components.press-release-how-to-build-a-winner-national-auctioneers-association

Press Release Step 1: Write Action

Of course, the first step is to produce a quality release. There are six pieces, listed in order of importance: brand identity; contact information; headline; lede; body; and, boiler.

As the illustration shows, the first four components all communicate your message long before the actual “guts” of the release appear. Readers need to know who is sending the information (brand). They want to know, specifically, who can explain things if necessary (contact info). It has to grab attention (headline). It then needs to cement their decision to read more (lede).

All of this must happen before the rest of the release matters because, if it doesn’t, the rest of the release (the body and boiler) won’t matter.

As you navigate through this writing process, keep a couple of general rules of engagement in mind. First, grammar and punctuation are non-negotiable. Nothing kills credibility faster than spelling and sentence errors. Next, avoid hype. This means no using exclamation points – no matter how exciting you believe your news is. It screams amateurism. Lastly, as you see in the example, keep paragraphs short. This keeps your release looking clean and limits the chance that a reader gets lost or confused in the middle.

Press Release Step 2: Write Place

Targeting is everything. Remember, you control, at least initially, who sees this information. Hopefully, you have good data that tells you where sending this release will result in the most reads or whatever else your stated goal is.

If you need help in building a media list – a good resource is easymedialist.com. There are fees for the lists (the more you need, the more expensive it will be), but they aren’t bad and it sure beats having to look up local, regional, or national lists manually. Time is money, after all.

Past all of that, remember if you really want to control things, you should also consider publishing the release first on your website and then pushing out the link through your distribution channels.

Press Release Step 3: Write Time

Now that your release is written and your targets have been established, when is the best time to publish and/or distribute? The answer again lies in your data.

Depending on how you will distribute your information, determine when your audience opens email most frequently or visits particular social media sites. Or, if you’re a little more advanced as an Owned Media source and have developed a consumer expectancy for when new items will be published, stick to that.

The takeaway here is to do what works best in individual situations until you develop some distribution patterns.

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Ready to write your own? Go to auctioneers.org/press-release-templates. Download, fill in your information, and share your news! (Don’t see what you need? Email .