Creating and sending press release worth the effort?

I’m thinking of creating or commissioning a press release very soon, to announce the Windows version of Poker Copilot, our until-now Mac-only desktop product. I’m seeking advice from others who have used press releases.

My rough plan: On the day we launch (November 1st), I’ll send out a friendly email with an attached press release to several news sites that are focussed on my product’s field.

  • Is it something I could do myself? Or is it much better to pay a professional to do it for me?

  • Any tips, advice, or recommendations?

Hi Steve

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?

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In my limited experience, it is pretty hit or miss.

Unless you can think of something unusual/noteworthy/interesting to say, then don’t bother. Lots of press releases are basically “Acme Ltd is excited to announce the v1.2.3 release of their revolutionary new …”. Yawn. A new release of your product is not inherently interesting to anyone other than you and your more engaged customers.

I did pay for a press release on some hotel/hospitality news websites once. They generated no traffic at all. In retrospect I think these sites had 0 readers.

My most successful press release was this one:

It didn’t exactly set the world on fire. But it did generate some interest and backlinks. Note that it wasn’t really about my product.

BTW are very good value compared (ugh) and well targetted for you. I would suggest trying and see if it brings any traffic or backlinks.


Thanks Rachel. Yes, we met in Prague in 2013, and also in Barcelona this year!

Little advice: tell a story, do not sell your product. If it’s a controversial story, the better :slight_smile:

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Similar experience for me with a press release. Ironically from PRWeb, the one Andy had good luck with. Again, hit or miss, depending on content.

Ever consider HARO? Might be a worthwhile approach if things align.

Thanks for the tips. I’ve now bought and read “How To Write Perfect Press Releases” by Steven Lewis. I’ve written my first draft. I intend to send the press release in an email to a few hand-chosen news sites in my domain. I’ll be sending it in a few days. Let’s see if I can get any traction at all from it!

A postscript to this topic: I bought and read the book recommended by Rachel. I wrote a press release. I submitted it to the website I thought most amenable to publishing my news. I already was acquainted with the owner of the site, so I had an existing personal contact with them.

They wanted $500 to publish my news, plus commit to an ongoing pay-per-impression advertising campaign. I didn’t pay.

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$500! Blimey, I thought prweb was a rip-off.

Wow, ouch. Like Andy said, I thought PRWeb was bad (we’ve used it at my company a few times with very little to show for it), but you hit something even worse.

Curious, have you sent it to the other news sites you mention and see the same type of response?

I didn’t try any other sites. When I tried to find their contact info, I couldn’t find any “got news to report” email address, but all had “advertising queries” links…

And I thought I had a story to tell, when it came to poker software news… :frowning:

To follow up:

On the “Macintosh Software Business” Yahoo Group, this happened a few days ago:

  • Someone asked about press releases
  • A prmac person answered that press releases are great
  • Someone asked for the numbers to support that claim
  • The prmac person backpedaled and dodged the question.
  • Someone in the news-ish industry sums it up with:

“every journalist in the Apple world that I know, including all of us here at TidBITS, has crumbled under the avalanche of press releases and ignores 99% of them. It’s in large part due to iOS - there are just too many developers and too many products - it’s overwhelming, particularly considering how handful of apps we might cover in an average month. It was different a decade ago, and I’m sure it’s different in other industries.”