The other day, I ran across a useful post on the Wise, Ink. blog, which was actually a guest post by Kenneth J. Thurber (http://www.wiseinkblog.com/guest-post/guest-blog-how-do-i-get-maximum-attention-with-my-press-release/). I found the information extremely helpful, so I wanted to pass it along today.
The post described six steps for meeting your press-release goals. I have rewritten them in my own words, but the idea is based off of the original post.
1. Get a great title for your press release. This will help the reporters distinguish your release from the countless others they receive every day and will, hopefully, make you stand out enough that they will give it their full attention. Once they agree to spread it around, this increases the chances that others will grab onto it and spread the word for you.
2. Make your press release timely. Find current events that relate to what you are talking about. If your novel is based on the hardships of being a teenager, it is better to release your message when everyone is talking about the flaws in state-mandated testing instead of during the middle of summer, when everyone is pretending that school doesn't exist (at least for another month or two).
3. Make your book a prominent part of the "timely" element. Indicate how the two topics are related. Give them a reason to care about what you are selling. Allow them to take a peak into your story and hook them with an issue they are already curious about.
4. Make the material quotable. News media rarely prints a press release word-by-word. Instead, they take the information within the document and shape it into a document that fits their own style and needs. By providing easily quoted passages, it makes their job easier, which in turn makes it more likely that they will run with your story.
5. Relating to your timely event, if you are taking a position with an issue, make sure your position is clear. To continue with the example I mentioned before, make it obvious whether you think teenagers really do have a difficult time or if you are mocking their definition of hardship. This way, you can't be accused of misleading a potential reader or misrepresenting your book.
6. Link to everything. Your Twitter, Facebook, blog, website, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Goodreads accounts. All of it! This will let anyone who picks up on your press release easily access more information about you, your previous work, and your current novel. They can follow your thoughts on your blog and see what inspires you on Pinterest. They can share the connection of a good book through Goodreads and chat with you on Google+. By sharing your links, you are opening yourself up to making connections with readers and fans.