Marketing & Advertising mentor Lisa Buksbaum responds to thefollowing question from an inc.com user:
Our company has recently developed a new product (patent pending) that provides the building industry with better system thermal performance and represents a significant labor saving over traditional insulating systems. We feel that we have a first mover advantage with our product and want to get the message out. Thus, how do we create an interesting or creative press release?

Lisa Buksbaum's response:
A synonym for press release is news release. Media professionals get hundreds of press releases a day so you have to cut to the chase right away. Therefore, it is to essential to focus on what is most newsworthy and valuable so that media professionals will read beyond the headline and first couple of sentences of your press release and not throw it out.

A strong, catchy headline is important. Here you may want to consider, something like "Announcing the launch of Therma-Guard®, the first thermal system that works 25% better than traditional insulating systems, because of Therma-Plus®, a proprietary installation technique where the insulating is actually woven into the roof and sealed with eight layers of protection." The media professional has a clear sense of what the product is and why it is important.

The first paragraph of a successful press release always leads with the facts, the five Ws: who (your company announces an innovative new product with patent pending technology); what it is (a succinct description of the product); why it is newsworthy (for example, this product provides 25% better thermal performance while reducing labor savings which accounts for an additional savings of xx. What is the "secret sauce" or the insulating process that makes your product superior? Are there more layers, new and patented materials? A different method of installation? Once you identify this, you can name it or create language around it to signal that it is new and improved. I also recommend trademarking a name as it signals that your product is different and has an implied superiority because of the trademark); and when (when it is available); and where (all of the relevant contact information, website, 800 number, phone number, and distribution channels to tell consumers or trade professionals how they can get the product).

Prior to writing the press release, it is a good idea to develop a brand personality which encapsulates the product' s essence and articulates what makes it unique. Think about the product, its core benefits, what your competition is doing, what people will say after using the product and see what kind of language flows from doing this exercise. If you think about the most successful brands, all of them have distinctive brand personalities which make them more desirable and separate them from competitive entries. Be careful to accurately represent your product so that you are not over-promising.

Testimonials are an excellent way to have end-users sing the praises of your product. Consider giving the product to several successful installation companies and securing a testimonial from them after using the product for a couple of weeks. The media professionals at trade publications appreciate this too, since they can use these quotations in the media feature without having to go out and secure testimonials on their own. It is helpful to include contact information for the sources that are quoted in the press release in case the media professionals want to ask them additional questions.

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Published on: Jun 13, 2001