The answer depends on what you’re announcing. Press releases, also known as news releases, always announce news. The biggest announcement most authors will make is that their book has been published. You’ll share that news in a press release sent with review copies, etc. (Learn more on that in “Why you must have a press release that announces your book.”)
Some of what we include in a press release, and how we present it, is changing as social media evolves and becomes more and more important. The basics are still the same: Your press release must focus on the benefits to the reader and the content must be well-written and interesting. But we can do more than that — we can make our press releases more “shareable” now.
New school rules
Sarah Skerik, vice president of content marketing at press release distribution company PR Newswire and the author of the company’s free e-book, New School Press Release Tactics, shared tips in a PR Daily article, “New-school ways to grab attention with your press releases.” (By the way, the article is a great example of what authors do on virtual book tours.)
Her tips apply to authors seeking book publicity, but they’re not written for authors. They’re written for savvy PR pros who write and distribute press releases for a living.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled out a few of the tactics in the article that you can implement without having a PR degree or super social media savvy. The tips I’ve selected are based on my experiences with authors I work with in one of my courses or through one-on-one coaching.
New tactics to try
For the most part, authors aren’t highly sophisticated with their social media usage — for example, telling them to “embed a click-to-tweet link” within the press release is going to generate panic. I mean, really, what teacher-by-day, author-by-night knows how to do that?
I think most authors can implement the three tactics from the article that I’m sharing here, though:
- Encourage on-the-spot social sharing. Skerik recommends highlighting key messages and embedding a “tweet this” function (see above), but I think adding social media sharing icons with plug-ins like DiggDigg or AddThis is more realistic for the typical author.
- Write a tweetable headline of 100 characters or fewer.
- Employ bullet points to highlight key points and draw readers’ eyes deeper into the copy.
While you’re at it, don’t limit yourself to writing only a press release that announces your book. Find or create other newsworthy developments to announce in a press release so that your book title continues to appear in the news.
Have you written a press release for your book that wasn’t a book publication announcement? What was the topic?