By Al Cohen, PR Consultant
Perhaps you’ve recently changed brands, completed a renovation, hired a new GM, received a perfect quality assurance score, partnered with a local charity or are offering a new sales package.
This is all newsworthy information and you should be getting the word out about it. But how? The press release remains a productive and cost-effective public relations strategy to generate awareness for your hotel. Below are some tips on how to write a release that captures journalists’ attention.
1) Make sure your topic is newsworthy
- The ideas mentioned above are definitely press release worthy. If you have something else in mind, ask yourself if anyone outside my hotel cares about this announcement.
2) Format the release properly
- Use hotel letterhead or place your brand logo at the top of a Word document.
- Below the logo, add “For Immediate Release” on the left side of the page.
- On the right, provide your contact info (name, phone number and email address) in case the editor/reporter has questions or needs additional information.
- The beginning of the first paragraph should have the dateline (city and state where your hotel is located). The date that you’re sending the press release can go here too or right below “For Immediate Release.”
3) Come up with a headline that catches the reporter’s attention
- Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day. You want yours to stand out from the crowd.
- Make your headline informative, yet short and to the point.
- Use action verbs.
- A sub-headline is optional.
4) Get straight to the point
- Since reporters are so busy and receive so many releases, you need to outline the details that you’re announcing in the first paragraph.
- Answer the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) as concisely as possible.
5) Provide supporting information in the next few paragraphs
- Each paragraph after the first should include progressively less important information. In other words, follow the inverted pyramid formula.
- Back up any claims you made, add background, support the significance of your news.
- Include a call to action – use bold or italics, list the full URL.
- Include at least one quote from someone at the hotel to boost the credibility of your release.
6) Last paragraph
- The last paragraph should include the contact information for the public. If you are hosting an event or booking reservations, list the phone number, address, website and contact name of the person in charge, e.g. “For more information, please contact Sue Smith at 555-5555 or visit our website at (include your property website and/or the brand website).”
7) Make sure the press release is well written and error free
- A press release is often the first impression you give about your hotel. Even a single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking you seriously.
- Thoroughly review the release for spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting and accuracy. Then, have other people proofread it to make sure it’s ready for distribution.
- Do not rely on spell check.
- Ideally, the press release should be one page. Two pages is acceptable, but don’t go any longer than that. The point of a press release isn’t to give the media everything.
- Each paragraph shouldn’t be more than 3-4 sentences.
- Include 2-3 hyperlinks in the release, providing an easy way to access your website or property page on brand.com and learn more about your hotel.
- Utilize bullet and number lists to break up information and data.
- Sprinkle in a few keywords (2 to 4-word phrases that accurately describe what you offer) to help with search engine optimization. Include them in sentences so they fit naturally.