The better way to sell online

Making your product newsworthy

I always knew journalists were hungry for a story, but my degree in Journalism taught me just how thankful they can be for quick wins. Experience has also shown me that this gratitude can be leveraged into free advertising if done the right way. I can’t count the number of times my friends in the creative industry have managed to snag paper space in local newspapers for album releases, YouTube videos, and blog pieces. So why aren’t businesses doing the same thing when they release new products, newly open, or change their business strategy?

Marketing using advertising, social media, emails and events can help a business grow over time, but one newspaper story can result in a surge of customer attention and awareness.

So how can you leverage this knowledge using a press release?

What exactly is a press release?

To begin with, you need to understand what exactly a press release is. To put it simply, it’s a document which includes needed information about a newsworthy story. Reporters can use it to develop an article, or they might reach out to you for additional information.

To succeed in writing a press release, you need to

  • Pitch why the story is newsworthy,
  • Provide all the information a reporter needs to write about it (the who/what/when/where/why).
  • Consider which publications might be interested.

The kind of information which is newsworthy will differ on your business size and what is happening within it. Simply sharing how great your products are and asking for new customers isn’t newsworthy, but sharing specific actions or events might be.

For example, a local or regional paper might be interested in events such as:

  • A business partnering with a charity.
  • A business hosting a special event.
  • A business winning an award.
  • A business undergoing change, such as through a merger, rebranding or the hiring of a new executive.
  • A business with a strong human interest story; such as supporting a team member in overcoming adversity, or helping a customer overcome a particular challenge. Human success stories can be as effective, if not more, at promoting your business than other types of write ups.

Before you start brainstorming, purchase multiple local newspapers, and analyse which stories make the headlines. Understanding which stories make the cut, and which angle is used when they are shared, might help you pitch your business story in a way which interests journalists.

Of course, if you have a very big story or a story of special significance, you may also be able to target larger news providers.

How to write a press release.

So that journalists can quickly scan through them, press releases follow set formats (and should be kept as short and relevant as possible! Think bullet points, clear paragraphs, and no unnecessary back patting).

Because of this there are key elements which are must haves in each release. For instance, these include:

  1. A relevant, interesting headline: how can you capture the attention and interest of the journalist in a sharp, short headline?
  2. A quick summary of the press release in a single sentence: a one line subtitle which cohesively explains the story.
  3. A newsworthy angle: how can you pitch the story in a way which makes it relevant and interesting to not just the journalist, but those reading the story when it gets published?
  4. The who/what/when/where/why: as quickly as possible, introduce and cover the core facts.
  5. Provide context: this could be done with quotes, statistics, reports, and any information which could add credibility and interest to the story.
  6. Include a call to action: if you’re hosting an event, where can readers buy the tickets? If you’re offering a once off super sale, which code can readers use to access bargain deals? If you’ve partnered with a charity, at which url can readers learn more? Just like other marketing channels, a press release and the subsequent article should contain next steps for the reader to take.
  7. Wrap it all up with an overview of your company: once you’ve outlined the story, given context and a newsworthy flair, and provided a call to action it’s time to provide a quick background of your company. Who are you? When were you founded? Why?
  8. Make sure to also include all of your contact information so that journalists, if interested, can reach out to you for further information. Traditionally, the press release would then be marked as complete with ###.

How to publish a press release.

Once you’ve got a story and crafted your release, it’s time to submit it for distribution. There are a number of paid services you can use to do this, such as:

But you don’t necessarily need to pay in order to get your story into print.

By reading through existing publications, you can identify which journalists may be best suited or most interested in your story, and then reach out to them directly via email or social media. Some publications also accept submissions online, or have detailed contact information.


Putting your business in the local paper may be something you haven’t considered before, but if you’ve invested time and energy in a special situation, it might be worth exploring the option.

- Lena Klein

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