A finely crafted press release can play a pivotal role in an effective marketing campaign or communications plan. It can also be used to enhance SEO and give lead generation for your website or blog a noticeable and measurable boost.
When to Issue a Press Release
There is news every day, and in the world of marketing there’s really never a bad time to issue a press release. Pay attention to the current news cycle as well as key dates and holidays that are coming up. You don’t want to release something on a day when something else will be dominating the news. Otherwise, just plan to send it out when it’s ready. Earlier in the week is usually better, as people aren’t reading as much news on a weekend.
You want to issue a press release any time you want to connect a story or announcement with the public. Crafting and marketing press releases also helps you create a wider network of supporters.
Consider issuing a press release for any of the following types of events:
- To issue an invitation to an event
- To welcome new staff in key roles
- To celebrate a success or milestone (number of baptisms, attendance numbers, number of locations, years you’ve been open)
- To recognize the efforts and achievements of individuals or groups
- When there is a significant change in organizational structure or leadership
- When goals are achieved
- When new goals are established
- Any time your church engages with the community or other organizations (food drive, city clean up, coat drive)
- To promote a new service or product (book or album release, big sermon series, new website)
Effective Format for Writing a Powerful Press Release
There is a standard and recognizable format for a press release that includes all of the information that a writer or an editor might need to create an article or other news bulletin in a brief and organized fashion.
The goal is to provide all of the information that you want to promote, plus all of the information required by a publication so that an article can be created and distributed as quickly as possible. The more work you do for the person who will be publishing the article, the better chance you’ll have that they will pick it up.
Most reporters and even bloggers are under tight deadlines and are required to push out at least two stories a day. They often don’t have time to do extensive research and follow up for quotes or interviews. If you can provide all of that in your press release, they can get most of their work done by simply cutting and pasting.
Powerful press releases provide meaningful information for your audience and context for your activities. Look at some sample press releases online, follow APA style and be certain to include all relevant details including statistics, one to two quotations from key players, a boilerplate with details about who you are and contact information to take any media follow-up questions.
Be sure to include links to your website, including direct links to relevant blog posts or informational pages on your website. If a pastor is quoted, link to their bio on your website. If you reference stats in the past, link to the archived blog post from that time. This not only helps reporters add more credibility to their articles and reduces the time they need to research facts, but it will also help increase traffic to your site which is a great SEO strategy.
Promoting Your Press Release
In today’s world of fast paced news it is absolutely necessary to promote your press release. In fact, it might be necessary to begin immediate action to encourage viewers and press employees to take note of your information. You can craft the most excellent press releases and publish it on your website or even send it out on a news wire, only to have it go unnoticed.
It is necessary to alert the media and your other viewers in at least some of the following ways:
- Link your press release to your social media accounts and publish it on all social media channels that you have.
- Make direct contact with your local news and radio stations and email them personalized copies of your press release.
- Email the press release directly to any people or organizations that you want to direct the information to.
- Post a copy of your press release on the websites of any affiliated organizations (denomination or church planting boards and blogs).
If you neglect to utilize a press release, you may be missing out on an excellent strategy for reaching both your local audience and the broader community nationwide. Traditional press coverage can really bring attention to your church and the work that you are doing, as well as help bring more traffic to your website by piggy backing off of news sites and other blogs.