It's easier than you may think to become get press coverage that reaches tens of thousands of people – all without paying a cent in advertising. In fact, writing and distributing a press release is one most underutilized promotional tools for chiropractors, yet few do it.
If you don’t know how to properly write and send out press releases, it can be intimidating, confusing, or just a waste of time. But in this blog, we’ll walk you through the right way to write a press release that will look like a PR expert drafted it. In part two of this blog, we’ll cover tips and best practices for your press releases that will help you garner invaluable media coverage!
What is a press release?
A press release is an official announcement issued by a company, agency or organization that’s distributed to the news media. Press releases are sometimes also called a “press statement,” a “news release,” or “media release.” These releases disseminate the information necessary for one potential news story or important happening.
What ISN’T it?
A press release is not an advertisement. It’s not a commercial, a bio, an interview, a general informational piece, or a personal profile. Press releases are not subjective, without a factual base, opinion, or written to overtly sway or persuade the reader.
How long should it be?
Most press releases are just one page long on a printed page, but they should never surpass two pages in length. These days, most press releases are sent via email, but you should still aim to be succinct. The goal is to provide enough information for the media outlet to write their own notice, announcement or news story, so 400-600 words is an ideal target range for a unsolicited release. Provide links to your website, blog, or to contact you if they would like to learn more.
The press release starts with a header, including the always-present tag line in capital letters stating, "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE." The header also contains the contact information for the person that can be reached for more information (name, email and phone number) as well as the date of the release.
The FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE and date are always left justified, while the
contact information is right justified.
Immediately after the header, you'll find the headline (don't get those two confused!), which serves as a bold announcement to get the reader's attention and succinctly tell them what the release is about – all in eight words or less. But headlines don't need to be full sentences, although they should be written in present tense (even though the rest of the press release is written in past tense) with clear, direct language and action verbs.
Dateline and lead
After the headline, you’ll find the dateline. The dateline is the city name in capital letters, followed by the state abbreviation in most cases, and then a dash.
Next up is the lead, which acts a subheader, expanding on the important points of the release for the reader – all within 32 words.
This is the meat and potatoes of the press release, so cover the Who, What, When, Where, How, and What’s Next of your statement in the body. Share this information directly and clearly, without elaborate or flowery language.
In the first paragraph of the body, always answer the question, “Why should they care?”
It’s a good idea to include a direct link to your company’s website in the first paragraph of the body, as well as cite data, statistics or other references with their corresponding links.
Round out the information you're trying to convey with a quoted statement of another relevant person. Quotes can come from a credible source like the company president, head chiropractor (in this case), happy client, agency, or another third party that's involved. Every press release should have at least one quote; two is ideal, but you should never have more than three quotes. Good quotes humanize the information and also add credibility.
The last paragraph of the press release doesn’t focus on the story or the relevant announcement, but adds some background and supporting information for the reader to put in context. This can be a little bit about the sender/company (the chiropractor and their practice), and even the field if it’s not common knowledge. You can also cover how you are different and future trends or next steps the reader should be aware of.
Three pound signs are placed at the bottom of a press release, signaling to the reader that they've reached the end of the document (and that they aren't missing any pages.) Sometimes you'll also see "End" instead of these three pound signs at the end.
Speaking of end, that's all for today! Look for part two of this blog with tips and best practices for chiropractors to write press releases!