Are you thinking of pitching a story about your pet business to the media and need to write a press release?
A press release is simply a document written in a certain format that means it contains all the vital information the journalist needs to write an article.
In this episode I’m going to explain everything you need to know so you can write a press release for your pet business to boost your chance of success when you pitch to the media.
You can listen in on the player link here or read it as a blog post.
What is a press release?
This is the definition of Press Release in the Oxford Dictionary of Journalism.
“Information sent out to the media on behalf of an organisation to publicise an announcement, event, policy, campaign, or anything for which they hope to attract coverage.”
Online you’ll find lots of other definitions like this on the Shopify website: “A press release is a written document prepared for the media – also called the press – that announces something newsworthy.”
But the key thing you need to know is your press release needs to be a story. It needs to be newsworthy.
Here are some ideas of what makes a story.
Something new, a charity or fundraising event, awards and achievements, a lightbulb moment, a news story or an inspiring animal story.
Why do I need to write a press release?
There have been enormous cutbacks in the media, local, regional and national, in the last few years.
It means newspapers and other media outlets run on a skeleton staff, and, with such a demand for online content now, they need to produce many stories daily.
Traditionally, journalists would go out on stories or interview people on the phone, but being so time poor means this isn’t possible so much.
If you have a decent story, and you’re able to put it into a press release they can copy and paste and do minimum editing, then you’re helping the journalist.
This means they’re more likely to say yes to your idea.
Do I need to get someone to write a press release for me?
No, you can do a perfectly good job yourself and remember the journalist will know you’re not a PR or journalist.
They won’t expect it to be perfect, you just need to ensure if contains the vital information they need.
If you’re worried though and would like some support, I offer a Power Hour which some pet business owners have used for help with a press release.
And if you’d like it written for you, I offer a Press Release Writing Package, and you can find out more here: Press Release Writing.
What do I need to go with my press release?
You’ll need photographs that are relevant to the story. If your story is about a man going on a bike ride to help rescue dogs, then you need the man, on his bike, with his rescue dog.
Take a look at this example of a press release I did about Dominic Hodgson when he went on his Tour De Rescue.
The press release was picked up by more than ten different outlets. You’ll also see it’s in the form of a story.
It’s not a formal, stuffy, boring account. You’re telling a story – that’s what journalists are interested in – so bear this in mind when you’re writing your press release.
Where do I send my press release?
Where is it going to be most relevant?
If you’re a local service provider, while it’s prestigious for your pet business to appear in a national newspaper or magazine, your clients are living in your local community.
My advice is always to start with local media, and work your way up.
Your local paper is a great place for you to start building relationships with journalists and if you do this well, can lead to a steady stream of coverage.
Don’t send them press releases about every tiny thing that happens in your business.
But if you think you have something that is going to give value to their readers, then get in touch.
This could be a transformation of a client, your take on a news story, something new in your business or an award.
Pitching yourself as an expert
Journalists like to see people who have already been featured, particularly when it comes to experts.
If you say you’re an expert in barking dogs for example, like Claire Lawrence from High Peak Dogs who I’ve been working with over the last few months, they want to see evidence of this.
See Claire in the Daily Express here.
They’ll Google your name and want to see other articles, so blogs, news pieces, podcasts, book listings if you have a book, reassuring them you are an expert.
How do I write my press release?
I have a press release template and this comes with a series of helpful e mails to explain how to use it.
You can download it here: Press Release Template
Here is an outline of what your Press Release should look like.
The title should be PRESS/ NEWS RELEASE
In the next line, put the date and that the Press Release is for immediate use.
Then you have your headline and this should be one short, punchy sentence that explains what the story is about.
Following from this is your introduction which should tell the journalist what the story is about – you have seconds to grab their attention.
The first few paragraphs should contain the following. Who or what is the story about? When and where did it happen? Why does it need to be shared now?
After this, include some direct quotes from the person or organisation the story is about. Also think about using stats and research.
Finally, include a call to action. What do you want the reader to do? Go to a website, e mail or call? Make sure they know what to do next.
Finish with the word ENDS in capitals, bold and centred.
Finally, you have the Notes to the Editor where you can include vital information about your business, so your background, USP and anything else you feel is important.
If you’d like to download the Press Release series, here is the link: Press Release Template.
For more support on learning ways to win publicity for your pet business, you can join my membership community for £67 a month.
It includes my signature Publicity for Pet Businesses programme which you can work through in your own time, live classes every month and a dedicated Facebook community.
Find out more: Publicity for Pet Businesses Membership.
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