A press release? They’re “so yesterday”; you’re kidding?
No, I’m not pulling your leg.
While press releases have been around for over 100 years, they’re still used today because they still work.
But first things first…
What is a Press Release?
A press release or news release announces a piece of news or an event that’s of interest to a particular group of people. Therefore a press release is a targeted medium because it’s of interest only to certain people; it’s not meant to appeal to everyone.
Originally, press releases were sent to the “gatekeepers”… journalists, editors, and publishers of newspapers and magazines. And it was up to them to publish it or to write a story about it.
But today, since we tap into the power of the “world wide web” things are different. In addition to submitting your press release locally, offline, you can also submit it online, for distribution across the web.
Why Use a Press Release?
A well-written and “news-worthy” press release can get cost-effective exposure for your business, your services, and products. And the best thing is you can write them more than once. You can write press releases over and over again.
Press releases get you noticed online and offline. Not only do they help attract ideal patients to your practice, but they also position you as the expert and increase awareness for your business.
Practices utilize press releases for a number of reasons, including:
- Announcing the opening of your practice
- Expanding your business, adding a second location
- Announcing an ‘Open House” for your clinic
- Announcing the addition of a new provider
- Announcing awards received by providers or staff
- Announcing an upcoming talk the provider will give
- Adding a new specialty to your service offering
- Announcing a special event, i.e., flu clinic
No matter the reason, a press release must always be newsworthy and not read like an advertisement.
Just remember that magazines and newspapers are not in the business of providing free advertising; they are in the business of providing “NEWS” to their readers.
How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Press Release?
Simple… You follow a proven structure.
There are seven items to cover in every press release.
- Company logo and time of release: both appear in the top left-hand corner along with the words “For Immediate Release.”
- Headline: it must grab the reader’s interest; hence it is the most important part of your press release. Use the headline to let the reader know what the press release is all about. Don’t forget to include the name of your practice or business in the headline, such as “Hilo Primary Care to sponsor/offer/present…”
- Opening paragraph: Start with listing the city, state, and date of the release. The first sentence should also include the hyperlinked name of your business. Make it easy for readers to get in touch with you. Sum up your story… Attention spans are declining; that’s why it’s important to give readers the most important information right at the beginning. Borrow the five W’s from journalism to ensure you give readers concise and relevant information.
a. Who… is involved?
b. What… is happening?
c. Why… is it taking place, what is the reason?
d. When… is it going to happen?
e. Where… what’s the location?
- Main text: tell the reader the specifics. Give them more details and tell them why they should read and care about the information.
- Ask readers to take action: Depending on the objective of your press release, you may ask that they call for more information, click a link to go to your website or sign up to join your email list.
- Include an “About the Business” section: Include a short, concise paragraph about your practice. Tell readers what your business is all about.
- Media contact information: include your business name and contact information. Also include your website, email, and any other methods to get in touch with you.
Here are a few more points to consider when writing your press release:
- Before you start writing your press release, get clear on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to attract new patients to your office or do you simply want to build awareness?
- Always use a professional tone.
- Remember a press release is a piece of news; it is not an advertisement.
- Always write the press release in the third person.
- Anything published in the press release must be accurate and verifiable.
- Avoid the use of industry-specific jargon.
- Keep search engines in mind. Identify key search terms your audience might type in to look for information discussed in your press release.
- The typical press release is relatively short. Your press release should be no less than 300 and no more than 700 words.
- Make sure your press release is free from any spelling and grammatical errors.
- If you send your press release in an email, make sure it’s contained within the body of the email. Do not send it as an attachment as it might be considered spam or virus.
Where to Submit Your Press Release?
Last but not least, it’s time to submit your press release. Depending on the goal of your press release, you may want to submit it offline, online, or most likely both.
After all, there’s no point writing it if you don’t submit it and get coverage.
Always post your press releases on your own website. Create a “news or press room section” on your site where you post all your releases. Not only does this add quality content to your site, but it also boosts your credibility.
Submit your press release to local newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV stations. Also, consider submitting your release to other local organizations you interact.
Most organizations allow you to submit your press release online, via their websites. Look on their websites for information about “submitting a press release.” In most cases, it’s simple and straightforward.
If there is no information on the website, you will have to pick up the phone to call and find out how to submit your release.
There are free and paid services you can use to distribute your press release.
Some sites offer free or low-cost submission services, and some allow you to test drive their services via a free trial. A few examples include:
To find additional free or low-cost submission services, search Google for “Press release submission free.”
There are also many paid submission services available.
Some only submit your press release, while others offer additional services. Unfortunately, most of the paid press release submission services are on the expensive side, particularly for a small business.
Some well established, paid submission companies include:
Again, search Google for “Press release submission service” to get more listings for press release submission services.
** Please Note **
We do not endorse any of the above sites or services; please conduct your own due diligence.
Of course, feel free to share your press releases with your followers on social media and contacts in your professional network.
Well, that’s all I have for today.
As always, let us know if you find this information helpful. And if you’d like to learn more about marketing your practice utilizing different methods, let us know as well.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”