Let’s be honest: Most press releases go straight into the trash bin. Journalists and publishers receive huge volumes of self-promotional outreach, and they simply can’t keep up.
So, is it even worth your time to put out press releases? Or should you look to other avenues to promote your startup, like social media marketing and brand partnerships?
Doing PR the Right Way
Press release distribution can be an effective tool in your startup’s PR toolkit — if you know how to do it right. These tactics won’t magically raise your press release open rates to 100%, but they will help you get more value for your efforts.
1. Include a Brief Summary Before the Introduction
Summarize your press release’s main points for the benefit of the reader “above the fold” — before you even get into the introduction. This won’t stop recipients from reading on, but it will set their expectations and provide them with key takeaways to return to later.
You can see how this is done in this press release about a startup. The release clearly explains who led the startup’s most recent funding round and what it was to be used for, both vital pieces of information for readers.
2. Don’t Call Your Startup “The Uber of ___”
Or “The Airbnb of ___.”
Let’s face it, your startup probably is not the Uber or Airbnb of your industry. And that’s okay.
Your startup has great potential even if it’s not a unicorn. Embrace that potential. Lean into it. Be honest about it. And don’t be shy about using superlatives — just more realistic ones.
3. Understand the Purpose of Your Press Release
Before sitting down to write your press release, ask yourself why you’re doing so.
It’s entirely possible that you won’t be able to answer this question, in which case you should think twice about putting out the release in the first place. If you can answer it, that answer matters. The best press releases have clear, singular purposes, usually informing readers of a legitimately important event or announcement related to your startup.
4. Build Your Release Around a News Hook, If Possible
News value sells. While you don’t want your press release to seem dated within weeks, you do need to compel your audience to open and engage with it. One of the most reliable ways to do this is to use your headline and summary to tease a connection to current events.
5. Make Your PR Contact Available for Interviews
Finally, make sure your listed PR contact is actually available for interviews. Further, make sure you want them to talk to potentially adversarial reporters. If you’re unsure about how this will go, make it clear that the release speaks for itself and you won’t be doing interviews.
Make Every Word Count
Most press releases are time-sensitive. You want recipients to pick them up right away; every hour they delay erodes the value of your efforts.
These strategies increase the odds that the people who receive your press releases will do just that. There’s no guarantee of success, and you’ll still find plenty of outreach that goes unanswered. But if you make every word count, you’re much more likely to get your money’s worth out of the process.