How to write a press release (plus a $50 off coupon at PRweb!)

pr_distributionRecently I finished a guide to book marketing, and discouraged authors from using a free or paid press release service because I don’t think it’s worthwhile for authors or book promotion. But you might want to do it anyway, especially if you

A) have a non-fiction book or

B) are promoting some kind of business.

I’m doing both soon so I’ve started looking into press release services again.

It’s been awhile, but I’ve used several free PR distribution services and also PRweb a few times.

In general, although PRWeb costs $99 (just for its “basic” package!) you can get the same result by sending your press release out on a dozen small, free PR sites, if you want to do the extra work.

But since PRweb uses more authoritative sites, you’re also getting quality SEO backlinks which will help with traffic and page rank, so it’s the one I’m choosing to use. I also found this $50 off coupon for new joiners (you’ll have to create a new account with a new email but it just takes a minute):

Click here to get the coupon

With that great deal, $49 is not too much to pay, as long as your press release is effective.

How to write an effective Press Release

You’re probably trying to write a press release to get more sales by drawing attention to your book, business or project.

But a promotional PR is not likely to work, because people won’t share something that has no inherent value (and is basically advertising).

So if you write about your new book or service or company as a product and say:

1. This is what it is

2. This is what it does

3. This why/where you should buy it and how much it costs…

Few people will want to repost that on their site because it’s not real news: news is what happens.

News has to be interesting. It has to matter to people – not only to people looking to buy a particular thing.

It CAN be news if it solves a problem, as in “Learn this amazing new way to shed pounds on a diet of chocolate milkshakes.”

In Author 101, Rick Frishman says

“To attract press, you need headlines about Money, Sex, Health, Controversy. You need bold, daring, risqué headers. “Take changes; be provocative, naughty and controversial.”

It can solve a problem. It can be about something new and interesting (really amazing) that will be appreciate by people. It can be that you won an award (although this probably won’t work so well, unless it’s the Pulitzer…”)

It can be about a project, event or community (the bigger the better) especially if you’re doing something that helps others.

It won’t be shared just because somebody wants to do you  a favor; it will be shared based on the amount of traffic it may get or how much readers will appreciate it. If you’re trying to get people involved or to participate in something, make it fun and easy: Seth Godin writes in his post 8 Email Failures,

“The thing you need me to do better be fun, worth doing and generous. If it’s not, I’m not going to do it, no matter how much you need me to do it.”

So the topic matters.

But people won’t click it without a killer headline.

The headline has to present the story, the benefits, the news, in a way that tickles the imagination and hooks attention.

It can be surprising or bizarre: “Man saves drowning dolphin.”

It can be a list (sometimes overcoming objections): “7 ways to get healthy (without dieting or exercise!)”

It can be a question: “Do you make these common writing errors?”

If you need more help…

Here’s a list of PRweb’s top 25 headlines with commentary.


About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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