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Five Steps to Creating Press Releases That Really Work

Post by Nancy Dowd
Posted August 27, 2013 in

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According to a marketing survey conducted by Library Journal last year, 94% of libraries count on media coverage to communicate with their communities, yet only 24% thought it was the most effective channel. It’s no wonder. We know local newspapers are hard pressed for space and are usually only interested in the big stories or calendar listings.

Don’t despair -- press releases can still be an effective tool to get your message out to your community, even if the local paper never picks up the story. You can pitch stories directly to your community through search and social media.

These five steps will help you increase the reach of your press release:

1. Write a brief yet interesting press release that reads like a great newspaper article. Include a few bullet points at the top that list the highlights of the release. Make sure you include who, what, where, when, and why the story is important. (LibraryAware users can find those features in the press release template).

2. Write a dynamic title that demands attention. 

3. Include a few keywords in the title and body to make it easier to find in an online search and link to relevant websites, as well as your own.

4. Post the release to your website with an individual URL.

5. Post the headline to Facebook and Twitter with a link back to the URL.

As you get ready for September, look to create press releases that combine the services you offer that present a solution to problems faced by parents and students. The obvious one will be Common Core. Consider creating a series of articles that explain the ins and outs of Common Core and how your library can help provide nonfiction reading suggestions for their kids. Make sure you let parents know they can sign up for emails and receive reading lists directly to their phones. This will probably be a topic your local paper will want to know more about as well, and could generate some great stories for your library.

Nancy Dowd is the Product Lead for LibraryAware. Her passion is helping libraries connect to their communities.