Show Menu

The 12 Ironclad Rules for Issuing Press Releases Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

The 12 Ironclad Rules for Issuing Press Releases

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


A press release provides you with the ability to spread the word about your company, its doings, and its offerings in an ethical, journa­lis­tic­-minded manner that’s focused on newswo­rth­iness and branding over SEO, social media, or anything else. The simple tenets of: who, what, where, why, and when easily apply (the five Ws).

1: Know How to Write a Press Release

If you have never written a press release before, you should consider using a profes­sional writer or service. Press releases are about telling a story, your story. The truth is that writing from a journa­listic approach takes years of studying and practice. That’s not to say that any good writer isn’t capable of doing it; it’s just to say that you will want to be as knowle­dgeable as a profes­sional or hire one.

Press releases have to cover something that is newswo­rthy. A PR Daily article outlines six necessary AP style guide steps you ought to take when composing your release to assure that it’s newswo­rthy. They include: stating your objective clearly, using the five Ws, minding your spacing, using proper grammar and style, and showing names and titles correctly and approp­ria­tely.

2: Know Your Audience

Writing for your audience is critical when producing any piece of content you intend to market. A bit of demogr­aphical research will go a long way toward achieving this goal. For example, if your target market consists of the 45-and­-over age group, using modern terms that don’t appeal to them won’t do much to help you gain traction. Understand your audience and who you are writing for before you craft your newsworthy release.

3: Understand Targeting

All releases are targeted when you set them up to go out for distri­bution. Proper targeting can often mean the difference between thousands of reads and plenty of traffic streaming back to your money website or the lack thereof. Be sure you research every single industry your company, products, or services apply to before you set your industry targets pre-di­str­ibu­tion.

4: Craft a Punchy Elevator Pitch

Remember that press releases are a major form of branding, something that is expone­ntially vital in the online marketing world of the present day. SEO has shifted to being more about branding and engaging content than about getting backlinks.

According to Business Know How, the best way to write a classy elevator pitch that has viral potential is to have the following inform­ation at hand: knowledge of your brand, products, and services; an unders­tanding of your market; research on what your compet­ition is doing, and an awareness of the compet­itive edge you have to offer.

Still, you’ll also want to add some spice, bravado, and swagger to your headline to capture more attention. A boring and stagnant headline may be newswo­rthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not making people pull their hair out when they read it.

Press Release

5: Abide by the Editing Process

Editors at press release distri­bution services, newspa­pers, and online news websites are stringent. You’ve got to bear in mind that they are all fervent studiers of the English language, AP style, tone, and prose. They don’t see any wiggle room in proper grammar or adherence to style; they see only black and white with no spatial gray area in between.

A Community Tool Box public­ation offers some tips on avoiding press release rejection by using proper grammar, spelling, titles, style, and prose. Remember, editors won’t fix your document for you; that’s on you. They might make minor changes.
If your release is not almost pictur­e-p­erfect, it will go in the rejection pile with all of the other shoddily composed (and promptly rejected) news releases that editors get bombarded with day after day

6: Collab­orate to Succeed

Teamwork will go very far in helping to develop an effective press release. Collab­oration is how some of the finest marketing pieces are created. So why limit the idea of the piece and its compos­ition to just your ideas? Rather, brainstorm with a few others and co-create and co-write the piece together. This will result in unrivaled clarity and percep­tion, and it can drasti­cally enhance the quality as well as the reader engagement of the release overall.

7: Cross Promote to Gain Credib­ility

Cross promoting is often referred to by many in the industry as the “Free Form of Advert­ising,” which is exactly how the Edward Lowe Foundation references it. Cross promoting can exist across vast mediums, with public relations being one of them.

Three inherent and innate rules do apply: cost, control, and credib­ility.

8: Use Quality Distri­bution Channels

This rule cannot be stressed enough. The simple mathem­atics of this equation are as such. Cheap distri­bution is not good; and good distri­bution is not cheap. Distri­bution costs money, plain and simple.

9: Syndicate Post-D­ist­rib­ution

Syndic­ating your press release is very important. Sure, it’s going out to all of these places. However, if you don’t take some additional “tract­ion­-ac­tion” yourself, you could be essent­ially wasting your own time and money.
Ensure that your social channels are all set up to syndicate your press release. Key channels to consider include: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Delicious, and Pitch Engine.

10: Gain Social Traction

There’s only one service I’d recommend for the syndic­ation of your press release on social channels and that service is Pitch Engine. This is a social branding and marketing distri­bution service that you piggyback with your press release. It allows you to track social analytics and traction as you gain more headway. It’s advised you write an entirely unique carbon copy of the actual release you are posting (through conven­tional distri­bution channels) and use that post with Pitch Engine to gain even more traction.

11: Repost with Content Discretion

Avoid reposting the actual press release on your website because this can denigrate your content authen­ticity and page-score ranking with Google and the other search engines. Instead, write a unique teaser paragraph or two, and then link out to the release on the host site that distri­buted it or one of the major media outlets that picked it up.

12: Enhance Release with SEO & Pictures

There are a few add-ons that most press release distri­bution services offer which are very worthwhile and that should be considered as part of your distri­bution strategy. The first is the SEO enhanc­ement feature. By all means opt for do-follow hyperl­inks. A few more high PR backlinks will never hurt your website.

Consider expanded distri­bution to hit more major mediums, albeit at an increased cost. For example, if you are a multin­ational company, consider worldwide distri­bution with AP Newswire syndic­ation. If you are a domestic company, target national regions to hit every major news medium in the contin­ental U.S., as opposed to the limited newsfeeds that are in your set geo-re­gion.

Finally, pictures, video, and sound files are worth a million words. If you add these intrin­sically viable multimedia elements to your press release, they will aid you in gaining that desirable, palpable, and viral tenacity that equates to good content marketing, effective branding, and enhanced credib­ility. Ultima­tely, the future of your public relations – and your brand’s reputation – is in your hands. So tread carefully and make the most of it.