How to write a press release

How to Write a Press Release:
A press release, also known as a news release, is simply a written statement to the media. It can announce a range of news items: scheduled events, personnel promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, etc. They can also be used in generating a feature story. Reporters are more likely to consider a story idea if they first receive a release. It is a fundamental tool of PR work, one that anyone who’s willing to use the proper format can use.

1.       Write the headline. It should be brief, clear and to the point: an ultra-compact version of the press release’s key point. News release headlines should have a “grabber” to attract readers, i.e., journalists, just as a newspaper headline is meant to grab readers. It may describe the latest achievement of an organization, a recent newsworthy event, a new product or service. For example, “XYZ Co. enters strategic partnership with ABC Co. in India & United States.” Headlines are written in bold and are typically larger than the press release text. Conventional press release headlines are present-tense and exclude “a” and “the” as well as forms of the verb “to be” in certain contexts.

The first word in the press release headline should be capitalized, as should all proper nouns. Most headline words appear in lower-case letters, although adding a stylized “small caps” style can create a more graphically news-attractive look and feel. Do not capitalize every word. The simplest method to arrive at the press release headline is to extract the most important keywords from your press release. Now from these keywords, try to frame a logical and attention-getting statement. Using keywords will give you better visibility in search engines, and it will be simpler for journalists and readers to get the idea of the press release content.

2.       Write the press release body copy. The press release should be written as you want it to appear in a news story.
Start with the date and city in which the press release is originated. The city may be omitted if it will be confusing, for example if the release is written in New York about events in the company’s Chicago division. The lead, or first sentence, should grab the reader and say concisely what is happening. The next 1-2 sentences then expand upon the lead.
The press release body copy should be compact. Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs. Avoid repetition and over use of fancy language and jargon. A first paragraph (two to three sentences) must actually sum up the press release and the further content must elaborate it. In a fast-paced world, neither journalists nor other readers would read the entire press release if the start of the article didn’t generate interest.
Deal with actual facts - events, products, services, people, targets, goals, plans, projects. Try to provide maximum use of concrete facts. A simple method for writing an effective press release is to make a list of the following things:

3.       Communicate the 5 Ws: The who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then consider the points below if pertinent. What is the actual news?
          Why is this news?
          The people, products, items, dates and other things related with the news.
          The purpose behind the news.
          Your company - the source of this news.
Now from the points gathered, try to construct paragraphs and assemble them sequentially: The headline > the summary or introduction of the news > event or achievements > product > people > again the concluding summary > the company. The length of a press release should be no more than three pages. If you are sending a hard copy, text should be double-spaced.
The more newsworthy you make the press release copy, the better the chances of it being selected by a journalist or reporter. Find out what “newsworthy” means to a given market and use it to hook the editor or reporter.

4.     Include information about the company. When a journalist picks up your press release for a story, he/she would logically have to mention the company in the news article. Journalists can then get the company information from this section. This is also called the “boiler plate.”
The title for this section should be - About XYZ_ COMPANY
After the title, use a paragraph or two to describe your company with 5/6 lines each. The text must describe your company, its core business and the business policy. Many businesses already have professionally written brochures, presentations, business plans, etc. - that introductory text can be put here.
At the end of this section, point to your website. The link should be the exact and a complete URL without any embedding, so that if this page is printed, the link will be printed as it is. For example: http://www.your_company_ Companies which maintain a separate media page on their websites must point to that URL here. A media page typically has contact information and press kits.

5.     Tie it together. Provide some extra information links that support your press release.

6.     Add contact information. If your press release is really newsworthy, journalists would surely like more information or would like to interview key people associated with it.

If you are comfortable with the idea of letting your key people being directly contacted by media, you can provide their contact details on the press release page itself. For example, in case of some innovation, you can provide the contact information of your engineering or research team for the media.
Otherwise, you must provide the details of your media/ PR department in the “Contact” section. If you do not have a dedicated team for this function, you must appoint somebody who will act as a link between the media and your people. The contact details must be limited and specific only to the current press release. The contact details must include:
-The company’s official name
-Media department’s official name and contact person
-Office address
-Telephone and fax numbers with proper country/city codes and extension numbers
-Mobile phone number (optional)
-E-mail addresses
-Website address

7        Get approvals from all participants in the press release. To enhance the credibility of a press release, quotes from vendors, partners, customers or analysts are typically included in a press release. Be sure to get written approval from all press release participants prior to publicizing the press release. This is especially true of customers who may react very negatively if their approvals are not given for the announcement.

8        Signal the end of the press release with three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release. This is a journalistic standard.

New Age Channel Marketing

How does Old Marketing Channels compare to New Ones:

20 years ago brochures and direct mail were the best channel for marketing- now biggest sources are TV and online marketing including Social media. So,how much has it all changed and are these new channels effective enough? Do you need to discard the old completely.Some thoughts:

It's always better to integrate multiple channels based on your brand's user base. For eg. If your product has a strong user based across both online and offline users, then it is best to integrate TRADITIONAL marketing strategies with New age media tools and social connect for bringing users under one brand roof to engage with the brand. 

While digital channel is increasingly gaining importance across B2C and B2B, one needs a right balance of all marketing channels depending on the product or service and the target segment you are chasing. For ROI through digital channels including PPC online ads, webinars, content syndication, email campaigns - a strong nurture strategy is must for conversion of leads into business. If you are targeting CXO's of large corporations, you would still need to have traditional channels like industry conferences and custom hosted events to get instant face time with multiple prospects.

It all depends on the client, the tool and the target audience. When we can get extremely targeted, we're more successful. Search is a significant part of all client strategies, but we like to blend it with other tools for maximum impact.

Buyer Persona

How is a Buyer Persona created?

Personas are fictional representations of ideal customers based upon real data of demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. (Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.)

Here is a template of Buyer Persona of a CIO:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 Key Titles
Chief Information Officer
SVP of IT, VP of IT (highest level IT executive in a company /division)
CTO (some common interests with CIO)
       SVP of Technology
        SVP Business Technology
  VP of Technology
  IT Director (as highest IT role)
Role of Buyer
The most senior decision maker for the IT organization; final approver for majority of IT expenditures.
Control 65% of company’s IT spend (CIO Magazine’s “State of the CIO 2014”).
Create business value
Provide agility and drive innovation with IT
Reduce IT costs and improve business efficiency
Deliver “IT as a Service” - position internal IT as preferred service provider; rapid delivery of IT as a consumable, optimized service
Attract, retain and develop IT talent
       Maintaining/ transforming legacy apps
  Reduce costs focus; greater % report to CFO
 Trend to move faster to cloud/outsource IT staff
Buying Center
Corporate (44% of CIOs report to the CEO) and Finance (18% report to the CFO) per CIO Magazine’s “State of the CIO 2014 “report
Daily Responsibilities
Drive innovation - identify opportunities for competitive differentiation and develop a culture of innovation within IT and the business
Align IT initiatives with business goals; cultivate partnerships between IT and business
Improve IT operations/control costs; manage system/architecture decisions, manage crises
Technology Coherence – make sure new technologies, applications, and other assets fit. Understand with business architectures and infrastructures
Business Continuity – establish predictable, high service levels and always-on IT services
Provide and validate technology vision and direction to the IT  organization, business stakeholders, end-users, customers, partners and vendors
Content Preference
        Business Publications (e.g., WSJ, Economist, Forbes); Peer Research, (CIO/CXO assoc and events); Executive Summary Reports; increasing exposure to multi-media/social networking
       Social media use by staff
       More likely to use social media
Watering Holes
Industry Groups; Analyst Summits; Partner/Vendor/3rd party CIO events