A press release is a simple, concise document that is sent to the media in order to give details about your crowdfunding campaign. An effective press release can lead to a newspaper article, a radio or television interview, and traffic to your crowdfunding campaign.
There are many articles online about how to write an effective press release and several online services that will distribute your press release for free. We will not attempt to duplicate all of that information here, but rather will give you some basics to get you started.
Make a local media list. Go to your local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and local websites and blogs. Most media outlets will tell you on their websites how to submit a press release to them, generally via e-mail. Also, keep track of the contact person at each outlet, and keep a list of their telephone numbers. You will want to follow up by phone with each media contact.
Write your press release. You have already written your crowdfunding campaign, and this will be similar. Follow any of the templates you can find online for a press release, or use this simple template:
Headline: Tell the reader what your crowdfunding campaign is and give them a reason to keep reading. Media folks rarely keep reading if the headline is boring. Grab their attention.
Lead Paragraph: This paragraph is probably already done for you and will be the same as, or very similar to, your first paragraph in your crowdfunding campaign.
Body Copy: Most press releases fill the rest of the page with additional details, quotes, and other important information. A well-written press release looks and reads like a news story. In fact, do not be surprised if a journalist or blogger takes your press release, and publishes it almost verbatim to what you wrote.
The Inverted Pyramid: Many press releases follow the “inverted pyramid approach.” The top of your pyramid is the most important facts and information. You have to grab attention and get the reader to keep going. If they read the headline, they know what the release is about. If they just read the lead paragraph, they should have all the relevant information in simple form. As they go further, they get the details.
Length: The general rule is to keep it to one page. Journalists and bloggers usually are trying to determine if your release presents a story that will be interesting to their readers. They do not have time to read through long-winded press releases. If they want more information, they will interview you.
Quotes: Quoting yourself in your press release gives it a personal voice and makes it seem more like a news story. Even better, if you can get approval to use a quote from someone else, particularly someone who endorses your crowdfunding campaign, add that in as well. A journalist or blogger can then use the quotes without even contacting you, making their job easier.
Contact Info: Always end with your contact information. A telephone number and e-mail address are necessities. If a journalist cannot get in touch with you, you have wasted your time.
Link: Be sure to include a link to your campaign, website, and/or social media! Why do all this work if people can’t find you to give you a donation?
Consider the timing. Your press release should be sent the day your crowdfunding campaign launches. Do not send out a press release earlier, as you will be driving the media to something that does not exist. On day one, when you start your pitch to your network, your press release should also be sent to everyone on your media list.
Follow up on your press releases after three days to see if they were received and to ask if the media contact has any questions. The industry standard is that you can leave three messages with a media contact about your press release. If you do not hear back from them after three messages, it is time to move on.
Use free online distribution. There are several free, online press release distribution services that will send out your press release to a wide variety of journalists and bloggers. Free services have limitations. You have little control over who the press release is sent to, and results will vary. Some people love the free services and praise them, others complain that they get no results.
Consider paid distribution. For a fee, you can have your press release distributed by a professional PR firm, and often get it into the hands of journalists who cover your industry or crowdfunding in general. While the free services will blast your release out to anyone, a paid press release distributor can target certain areas and categories of journalists and bloggers. Also, some journalists will not look at press releases that are sent by free services, so this can be a quality over quantity issue.