Writing Solar Energy Press ReleasesThus far, we’ve discussed the What, Why, Who, and How of writing solar press releases.

You finally have a polished announcement that highlights your unique solar offerings.  You’re ready to share this magnum opus with the world.

Where to begin?

Well, you have a number of options – each with slightly different pros and cons.

You can:

  1. Publish it on your solar company’s site
  2. Send it directly to journalists and reporters
  3. Use any number of paid distribution services
  4. Use any number of free distribution services
  5. Manually publish it on sites that accept guest posts

Today, we’ll explore the first two options.  Tomorrow, we’ll look at options 3, 4, and 5.

1.  Publish Your Press Release on Your Own Site

This is not really an “option,” and there really is no downside.

You should definitely publish any and all press releases on your own site – and you should do this BEFORE posting anywhere else.

This is because Google generally frowns upon duplicate content.  It’s important that you receive authorship for your own press release.

So regardless of whatever other options you choose to explore, make sure your press release goes up in the media or “in the news” section of your solar company’s site.

2.  Send Your Press Release Directly to Reporters

You can send your press releases directly to journalists.  First let’s explore the process, and then we’ll analyze the advantages and disadvantages.

Finding the right reporters takes some work.  You have to monitor newspapers and identify the types of writers who might be interested in a story like yours.  I recommend setting up a Google Alert for this project.

Let’s say you plan on writing a press release on a solar conference you’re hosting in a few months.  I’d make a Google Alert with the keywords “solar conference” or “solar event.”   You can tell Google to send you an email whenever a news story comes out with your keyword.

Over the next several days (or weeks), you build a rolodex of those stories and the authors who write them.  With enough time, you should have a pretty solid list of potential reporters.

Finding their contact information may be easy or extremely hard depending on the publication.  Sometimes their email addresses are right there.  Sometimes not.

You can always contact the newspaper directly and ask for the best way to get in touch with Reporter “John Smith.”

When contacting reporters, there are some very general guidelines to follow:

  • Personalize all correspondence.  “Hi John” is much better than “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Don’t contact reporters when they’re close to deadline.  Again, this varies with each paper and reporter, but afternoons are typically crunch time.
  • Keep any phone calls and emails short.
  • Don’t read from a script.  Natural is better.
  • Give them the story – not an advertisement.  You may be thrilled by your solar press release, but journalists receive requests every day, all day.
  • Don’t pester them.  They’ll either write about you or they won’t.  If they need additional information, they’ll contact you.

As you can see, getting your press release into a reporter’s hands takes some effort.  That’s the downside – time and energy invested.

You also lose control of the story once a reporter begins to rewrite it.  Perhaps your target keywords or most important points disappear in the final version.

The upside is that a press release turned into an actual article can drive a lot more interest for your solar products and services:

  • You have 2 versions of the same story that are now indexed in Google – your original version and the reworked one
  • You reach new audiences – i.e. people who regularly read this reporter’s articles
  • Your story is more objective since you’re not tooting your own horn

If you only write press releases very occasionally, it’s probably not worth exploring this approach.  But if you write press releases on a regular basis, there’s real benefit in forming long-term relationships with reporters who cover your area.

Tune in tomorrow.  We’ll look at the last 3 options for getting your solar press release out there.