With all the media noise out there, it can be challenging for any business to get the publicity they are looking for. Credit unions, which are often challenger brands to larger, traditional banks, in particular, may feel this stress even more. As a former news and sports reporter turned to managing public relations at Service Credit Union, I am often asked about how to be successful in getting business press releases in print, online and/or on the air. My advice: The easier a company makes it for the person responsible for publishing, the more likely it is that their content will be published.
During my tenure as a journalist, I discovered some very common mistakes. Press releases without contact information or peppered with grammatical errors were more likely to find the bottom of the wastepaper basket than a newspaper page. If the information was pertinent to our readers, it would be deleted to make room for more valuable releases.
How do you make your credit union stand out and get noticed by editors? Here are my suggestions for credit unions to get their press releases published:
- Make it easy for the editors/reporters/photographers. Have copies of releases on hand at events you invite the press to. Make sure you send them electronically after the event. Have the contact information of the person who wrote the release available on the press release.
- Buy an AP Stylebook and follow it. The stylebook is the bible for newspapers and magazines both in print and digitally.
- Write like you passed a high school English class. Proofread your work and make sure you have your co-workers edit the release as well.
- Start strong with the who, what, where and when in the first paragraph. This is standard practice in journalism.
- Make it factual. No opinions; otherwise, write a letter to the editor.
- Keep releases short and intelligent. Make sure the content is worth the space in the newspaper (it is at a premium these days).
- Include a local angle. Make sure your release is audience appropriate. Do not send a press release about a Tennessee company to a New Hampshire newspaper. They don’t care.
- Press releases are not just for print anymore. Send to newspapers and online sites and post on social media sites.
- Keep trying! Even when your release does not go into print, online etc, keep going for it. Editors are busy, so they may miss an email or two. Keep putting your releases at the top of their inboxes.
- Use a press release distribution service. Not only will this get your press releases published, but it will help drive readers to your website and social media sites. It also helps with SEO.
All businesses want the free publicity that a press release can generate. Follow these simple tips above and you will see your releases get more and more exposure.