If you’re using online press release distribution to its full potential, you’re publishing news releases on a regular basis. And if you’re like most marketers, you’re starting from scratch each time. You sit down, brainstorm an idea, and painstakingly write your latest announcement, from top to bottom.
There’s a much better way! And if you implement it, you’ll save a ton of time. That’s time that can be spent growing other marketing campaigns or addressing other areas of your business that need attention. Or, spend the time with those you love. Give yourself a much-needed and much-deserved break.
It’s a pretty simple solution: set up templates for your press releases.
By “template” I don’t mean non-personalized cookie cutter solution. But there are a few things that are consistent between all or many of your press releases, and “templatizing” (new word?) those parts can save a lot of time.
I’ve included a basic template that you can download within this post — but I recommend reading the full post before customizing it for your business!
Items To Include In Your Press Release Template
Think about the main components of each news announcement you publish. You need:
- A headline
- A summary
- Body copy
- 1-2 quotes
- An “About the Company” section (boilerplate)
- Keywords and their corresponding links
- Media contact information
These are the main pieces that belong in your template. It can be easy to forget to include one or more of these when writing from a blank page. And then even if you remember them all, it can be difficult to remember the nuances of each item (for example, that a title needs to be limited to 100 characters to fit in many press release distribution site forms).
Whenever any of these things are missed, it causes a snowball of time-wasting tasks. At best, you have to stop in the middle of uploading to rewrite titles and gather more info. At worst, you have to get re-approval on changes from a client who already approved your press release draft.
When you use a template, you can write around your notes, using them as guidelines. You won’t need to think about each detail as you’re writing since everything you’ll need will be in front of you.
Create Multiple Templates For Your Press Releases
As you know, there are lots of reasons to send out press releases. A new product launch, an upcoming webinar, a seasonal sale, or a relevant item in the news should prompt you to reach out to your audience. With so many ideas to pull from – and there are dozens of them – why limit yourself to creating a single press release template?
Create a template for each type of PR you publish on a regular basis. Include notes that guide you through the writing process. For example, your template for announcing a new product might contain a note to “include a video tutorial for using the product.” A news release to announce an upcoming webinar should remind you to include step-by-step instructions for how to register.
You might be surprised at how many times information that tells the reader how to actually take action is not included in a press release. For example, a webinar is announced, but there is no link to the registration page or there is no mention of the date and time. It happens. Having a template to jog your memory helps.
Using a template for each type of press release you publish will dramatically reduce the time it takes to create them. Rather than scrambling for the right information and worrying about whether you have forgotten an important detail, just refer to your notes. You can even create your own swipe file of press release headlines that have worked well in the past. Better to model success than to recreate the wheel each time you sit down.
Use Your Press Release Templates As A Starting Point
Realize your templates are only supposed to provide a launch pad. They are there to guide you, not to represent the finished product. You should feel comfortable making changes wherever necessary to accommodate the type of press release you need to distribute.
For example, suppose you typically include a photo in PRs written to announce upcoming webinars. You might decide to create a video promo instead. Or, you may want to include three or four quotes from happy customers who attended past webinars. The point is to be flexible. Use your templates as guides, not rules.
The Beauty Of Creating Systems For Your Business
A quick note about creating systems: they’re valuable if you find yourself spending too much time in your business. They help to streamline everything you do, making you more productive and effective. Ultimately, that helps you to get more done in less time, and generate better results from your efforts.
Creating templates for your online press releases is just one way of systemizing a key marketing process of your business. Ideally, you should aim to systemize as much as possible, even to the point of being able to hand everything off to employees or contractors. At that point, your business will become less reliant upon you, a great way to unshackle yourself from the daily demands.
That’s something to keep in mind as your business grows.
Are you currently using a template or cheat sheet to help with your online press release distribution? What types of items did you include in it? Has using a template helped you to get more done in less time? Share your experiences below!