How to Write a Press Release
By Tanner Chau
Knowing how to write an effective press release for your book is the secret weapon in marketing. Whether you are self-publishing or working with a publishing house for your project, every author should practice writing their own press release to send out to either local or national media outlets.
There is a basic formula to composing a press release:
1. Create an attention-grabbing headline.
2. Choose relevant news content that gets right to the point and use it as an entry point to advertise yourself and/or your book.
3. Include quotes pertaining to the news story that ties into the relevance of your book/you as an author or authority on the subject matter.
4. End with contact information for either the author (you) or the publishing house you are working with. You will also want to include information about the launch of your book or how to purchase your book.
Here is how a press release should sound when covertly advertising your book: Imagine you have written a book about climate change and a local conservation club is hosting an event. You attend this event and write a quick informational about the goals of this event, provide a quote on your thoughts about the event and establish yourself as an authority on the subject. It ends with a brief plug about the author (you) being such an authority who just so happens to have a new book publishing regarding climate change.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does one of these so-called press releases look like?” Well, no need to fear because there is a perfect example called “The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written” which appears on PR Newswire’s website (link below). The article itself is a press release discussing how this one is the most amazing ever written. It is a wonderful example for the structure and flow you will want to accomplish when writing your own.
If you have never paid much attention to the logic of press releases or are still unsure of what a press release is, the best recommendation is to read some. The bait and catch is to draw a reader in on exciting information while also advertising a service or product. It’s a slick marketing move that anyone can do given practice.
Lastly, here are a few tips to keep in mind when putting together a press release:
1. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Any media outlet or reporter that will lay their eyes on your press release is going to immediately notice any spelling errors, incorrect grammar, and improper formatting. It is the primary reason they will stop reading your submission and toss it in the trash.
2. Avoid clichés to the best of your ability. As writers, we are all too familiar with the cliché trap and the media is savvy to it as well. No one wants to read the same old song and dance, unless there is an unexpected twist and shout at the end.
3. When referencing current events, it is best to triple check the information you are discussing. Fact checking is second nature to any reporter and incorrect facts are the quickest way to shorten your credibility.
4. Be sure to keep in mind your audience, just as you would any other time you are writing.
You are your best resource for marketing your book, your brand, your everything and it would be almost silly of any author to not take up the opportunity to exercise a marketing technique that has the potential to be picked on multiple news outlets on the national level. Who wouldn’t want that kind of attention?