Interested in submitting a paid press release to LebTown and not sure where to start? Here is our guide to how to most effectively share your story with LebTown readers using this easy and affordable advertising product.
- No exaggerations or false promises. Your story must be valid. The truth and only the truth.
- Avoid “sales pitches.” These can be viewed as poorly disguised paid advertising. Remember; this is a story. Make the text relatable and involving.
- No lists of technical information. This especially includes information that does not support the key message. If you want to lose the reader, “dazzle” him or her with boring statistics.
- Avoid self-congratulations. If you are “amazing,” let the reader decide.
Requirements for an effective paid press release
We suggest you have a copy of the LebTown paid press release form in front of you as you review the advice listed below.
- Create a headline that grabs attention and compels the reader to jump into the story.
- The first paragraph is critical. The journalist should quickly grasp the key message. Critique your own work. Ask yourself “Can I say this in fewer words?” Re-write if the answer is yes. You are communicating with a busy person and competing for attention with many others.
- The next paragraph adds supporting detail and elaborates on the key message with supporting text. Avoid repetition. Be logical. Embrace brevity!
- Introduce the spokesperson in the article—name, title, etc. Include a quote to support the message. Make sure the quotes read like conversation. Avoid “company-speak.”
- Make sure the release is accompanied by photos and other visual material. Visuals enhance the story and greatly increase your chances for publication. (Incredibly important!)
- Visuals are separate attachments, and not embedded into the release. You do not want your release to look like an advertisement.
- Find a great image to illustrate your story. This not only helps tell your story, but also will help your story generate clicks on social media and increase the number of readers who arrive at your link. Whether YouTube videos, GIFs, or something we haven’t thought of yet, using visual content in the body of your press release will maximize reader engagement.
- If the story involves an event, make sure the dates, times, etc. are clearly communicated as well as including an address with directions if necessary.
- Conclude with contact information (phone number, web address, hours if applicable), and if possible, a quote from someone who “wraps up the story” in a memorable way. A third-party endorsement would be ideal. Make it easy for the reader to contact you.
- Before you send it, let someone you trust review it. There may be something you missed, such as spelling or grammatical errors.
- Of course, use spelling and grammar check when writing your story.
- Do one final edit—Challenge yourself to use fewer words to tell your story. Brevity, brevity, brevity!
This advice should serve you well when preparing a press release for LebTown or any other medium.
These are the three key steps to take when writing a release for your business or nonprofit. We will go into them in detail, but here are the summaries.
LebTown Paid Press Releases: For a modest $50 investment, LebTown will guarantee publication of your story, and identify it as a “paid press release.”
You have news to share: Some “food for thought” as you decide what news you want to share with the public, including who the public is in the first place. How does this task fit into the goals, objectives, and strategy for your business or nonprofit? And most importantly, be a storyteller. Everyone loves a good story.
The thought process: A simple and tested procedure to think through your assignment of creating and communicating company news.
How to write your release for maximum effectiveness: This includes traps to avoid as well as tips on creating a release, section by section. We will also show you how these tips help you maximize the effectiveness of writing a paid press release.
LebTown Paid Press Releases
LebTown offers a unique user-friendly way for you to guarantee that your story gets published for the modest cost of $50 per story.
LebTown is different in that our publication is more of a curator for you, as opposed to being a publication gatekeeper. The LebTown newsroom accepts press releases at the email address, [email protected], but since our resources are limited we can’t cover as many stories as we would like. For a small investment, the Paid Press Release feature allows you to use the LebTown platform yourself and reach our readers—your potential customers—directly.
As you create your story, remember to use the guidelines we have covered and give yourself the best chance to spark and maintain your reader’s attention.
Share your story
The first step to an effective press release is knowing what story you want to tell. If you keep your message fully reader-focused, you will have a much better chance of having readers connect to your business news.
Assumptions of public relations (PR)
To start, here are some assumptions to get us on the same page.
- You understand the role that PR plays in an overall marketing strategy.
- You are aware that technology and the Internet allow for more two-way communication than ever before.
- LebTown is a newspaper in digital format. Our readers respond and react to what they see and appreciate the platform. New people are signing up for LebTown memberships daily.
- Readers seek stories to read. And the best way to connect with them is for you to tell your story in a reader-focused way.
And the assumption that brings you here: You have a business. It started with a dream, and now it is a reality. You have a story that is yours alone. Now is the time to share it and make it newsworthy. It starts with you as the storyteller.
And storytelling is an essential tactical approach to an effective PR strategy.
A guide to PR
According to the Public Relations Society of America, PR is a communications process that aims to build beneficial relationships between organizations and its publics.
PR creates a balance between advertising, which is paid to “interrupt” the reader/listener/viewer, and unpaid “earned” stories about your company and its people. The two in tandem result in an effective strategy.
Everyone loves a good story. That is why a storytelling approach to your news release writing is a proven effective way to get attention.
“Markets are conversations”
The business book The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searles, and David Weinberger, takes an approach to marketing that particularly applies to news releases.
The book’s premise is brilliantly simple. At its core, business is about the humans that create it and run it. We should thus approach business in the same way—as fellow humans.
Its thesis is that “markets are conversations.” Today, people gather and compare stories on the Internet, a powerful “gathering place.” This may help to explain the growing popularity of LebTown and its editorial product; it is readable online.
Types of storytelling
Jacqui Banaszynski, Pulitzer Prize-winning Knight Chair in Editing at the Missouri School of Journalism, has described the eight unique paths that define a storytelling approach.
- A profile—Find the people behind the story, the characters driving the issue. You can profile not only a person, but a place, an event, or even a building.
- Explanatory piece—Show readers why something happens or how something functions.
- Issues and trend stories—Ask yourself if there is a larger picture to explore. Trends are not exclusively related to culture or lifestyle. Think about the economy, for instance.
- Investigative—Look into a wrongdoing, analyze power struggles, make use of documents (for information only—unlikely your story works here).
- Narrative—Give your story a character with scenes.
- Descriptive/Day in the life—Alternative to a narrative, focus on a particular moment, such as a ride along with a police officer, or a visit to a new museum.
- Voices or perspective story—Have people tell a story in a unique way, Q&A, roundtable discussion, a rail of quotes, or vignettes.
- Visual story—Photographs, graphics or illustrations might be the best way to tell your story.
By comparing and contrasting these approaches, you can determine what method best suits your unique story. This improves your chances of garnering the attention of those you would like to become fans of your business.
Why a PR strategy?
PR gives your business or nonprofit a number of benefits toward your public image.
- It is free—and helps build trust and credibility in your brand.
- It complements marketing activities. If you tell your story effectively with educational and inspiring content, it goes a long way toward building your brand and reputation.
- It is a useful strategy for crisis management. If there are misconceptions about your company, PR gives you the platform for telling your side of the story and setting it straight.
- It also becomes a key to your long-term branding story. When it appears in the news, it is being presented by a third party that you trust.
A colloquial definition of “brand” is that it is “someone else’s gut feeling of who you are and what you do.” Managing your brand steers these gut feelings in the right direction.
What is news?
Before preparing a release, look at the stories you see in the media. What is being covered?
Article themes can vary wildly, but building your release around something newsworthy increases public interest and circulation.
For instance, the themes listed below make for timely, interesting releases.
- You have a special anniversary and interesting history to share.
- You are building something new that will benefit the community.
- Your organization honors special people and organizations like first responders, veterans, seniors, or other people revered in the community.
- You are volunteering for something that benefits the community.
Decide on a newsworthy topic for your release, and then you are ready for the next step.
The Thought Process
Staring at a blank page, the question arises: where and how do you begin to tell your story?
The Worldwide Creative Director for BBDO, Jim Jordan, created a simple four-part process to follow whilst constructing a story.
- Know your prime prospect—Who are you trying to reach with your message? Who will respond to your message and act? If your message is a news article, you want to strike an emotional chord in the reader.
- Know your prime prospect’s problem—If you keep this point-of-view in mind as you prepare your own story, your chances of getting your news noticed by the reader is greatly enhanced. The reader does not care about you, but will perk up if you say something that strikes the right chord.
- Know your product—Relate your story to the kind of material you see in the publication. In other words, take the time to familiarize yourself with the publication and make your story fit its editorial style. LebTown, as an example, does a thorough job covering local news for greater Lebanon County. How does your story appeal to this audience? Look for a benefit that they will receive from reading what you have to say. The environment where your story appears is an important consideration.
- Break the boredom barrier—Take the time to write your story with a goal of getting the reader’s attention and connecting with them emotionally. Use short sentences. Do not try to impress the reader with “jargon” or cliché phrases. Figure out your key message and get to the point. Be interesting and never boring.
Schaeffer Beer as a case study
Here’s an example from Jim Jordan’s application of the process with BBDO client Schaeffer Beer.
Schaeffer was number three in the competitive NYC beer market (behind Peil’s and Rheingold). The prime prospect, the 20% of the market which drank 80% of the beer, was the mostly male consumer of a six pack a night. The problem was, beer number six did not taste as good as beer number one.
The product was produced with a process called “croizening,” which smoothed out the taste experience and appealed to the prime prospect. Increased awareness of this process was an integral part of their strategy.
BBDO broke the boredom barrier with a variety of creative executions of the campaign theme “Schaeffer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one!” The campaign leapfrogged Schaeffer to the number one spot in a cutthroat competitive market.
The four-part process outlined by Jim Jordan worked!
After reading our guide, we hope you’re ready to share your unique story with the world—or at least, Lebanon County. If you have any additional questions, our sales team is available to help. Reach us at [email protected] and tell us a little about your goals and we’ll do our best to help out. Happy writing!