Here’s my tuppenceworth:
a) Yes, you can do it yourself. You probably know the people to pitch the article to and the language to speak in better than a professional. Just learn how to structure it right and you’re away.
b) Buy “How To Write Perfect Press Releases” by Steven Lewis. Yes, of course I should link to that book on my site Luzme so you can get the best price, but I’m on a train in Northumberland with spotty wifi so won’t bother… But it’s a great book, short, to the point and great advice.
c) The most successful press releases I ever wrote were:
i) had something to say, not just fluff
ii) were structured in a way for the journalist to just use them
iii) were lifted almost verbatim
But don’t leave it until the day you launch; warm them up now. Offer the most influential one you know ‘an exclusive’ and tell them what the launch day is, give them 24 hours to take it and then go to #2 on the list… Journalists love exclusives…
And then when they post it, you’ll find the same post turning up almost word-for-word on other sites, because no one has time to write no stuff anymore, they lift it from elsewhere.
P.S. Did we meet in Prague at Microconf Europe?