How to Write Perfect Press Releases Part 4: How to find a story that journalists will bite your hand off for
In part three of this series, we discussed the importance of finding a good, newsworthy angle for your press release. Here are a few places you might want to look for one…
1. Use your startup story
What made you decide to start a business of your own? In our case, it was serious illness, which forced us to take stock of our lives and work out what we really wanted to achieve. Hopefully you’ll have a happier story than that one, but whatever your reasons for starting up, think carefully about whether it’s interesting enough for you to use in your press release.
Remember, your story doesn’t have to be a particularly dramatic one in order to make it work as a press release: say you were laid off your job, and used your redundancy payout to start your business. The chances are your local paper at least will have covered the redundancies, and they may well be interested in a follow-up feature focusing on the people who were laid off, and where they are now.
Or maybe you got divorced and decided to start up your own dating agency. People love human-interest stories, especially ones they can identify with, so if your start-up story is one that you often find yourself telling people about – or, better still, find people asking for more information about – chances are it’s interesting enough to qualify.
2. Use your unique selling point
Every business needs a unique selling point – that one thing that makes you different, and which sets your business apart from the rest. If your unique selling point really is unique, you may be able to use it as the basis for your press release.
Yes, I know I’ve already told you that no-one’s interested in your business, but now I’m going to qualify that: if your business is truly unique, people will want to hear about it. For example, I recently read a feature in a women’s magazine about a new restaurant which specialises in making food for people with eating disorders. Doesn’t sound like a particularly fun eating experience, but it was different enough to get it a double-page spread in one of the top selling glossy magazines in the country, just by existing.
Now, very few businesses will be unique enough to fall into the “interesting just because they exist” category, but nevertheless, think about your USP and how you can use it. For example, if you’re a hairdresser whose salon has computer terminals at each chair, or a travel agent offering holidays for pets, you may just get away with it.
3. Think about what kind of experience do you have to offer?
I’m not just talking about business advice here, but about your life experience in general. For example, if your spouse is your business partner, why not work your press release around the idea of offering advice on how to work with your husband/wife without divorcing them? Or if you started your business abroad, you may be able to offer a unique insight into living and working in another country. Remember, press releases don’t necessarily have to end up in the news section of your target publication: if your story would make an interesting feature or interview – or even provide material for a weekly column – the publicity you gain could be even better.