By Emily Peters
Contributing Writer

We confess: writing is a chore. Moreover, writing well can feel closer to an impossibility, particularly for those who haven’t put pen to paper since typewriters went out of style. Yet writing is a skill that is invaluable to independent travel professionals—and the illusive press release one of its most potent weapons.

Granted, press releases have fallen out of style somewhat, being “replaced” with more casual content writing (such as what you’re reading now). That said, press releases are unique in their ability to cut to the chase and present your audience with key facts and none of the fluff. In this age of attention-deficit readers, writing that kind of content is a skill set you must develop. Luckily,

It’s easier than you think.

Step 1. Identify what’s newsworthy about you

Press releases are not advertisements. We repeat: press releases are not advertisements. While some outlets may permit you to be a little self-ingratiating in your style of writing, most will not. Stick to the facts and leave out all sales tactics when selecting your subject. Some newsworthy topics to consider: the opening of your business, an award your agency has won, a new service you’re offering, an upcoming event, a new partnership, recent charitable involvements/events, etc.

Step 2. Identify the who, what, where, when and why.

Your press release should introduce all of these facts within the first paragraph. This way your readers can get the gist even if they don’t read the entire release.

Step 3. Provide supplement details in the body.

The body is an excellent place to include additional details and juicy quotes to bring your story to life. Remember: write as if you were a reporter. You know you’ve always wanted to be one.

Step 4. Summarize and end with your “boilerplate.”

After summarizing your who, what, where, when and why and providing any necessary call to action, your boilerplate will function as your “About Us” section. Provide your readers with key information about your agency: your business name, branding statement, and contact information including website, email, phone and social media handles. If you like, place three hashtag (# symbol) under the boilerplate to indicate the end of the release.

Step 5. Provide visuals.

Press releases with photos may have a higher chance of getting picked up. If possible, title the image you attach to the press release with its corresponding caption/identify who is in the picture. If the caption is too long, include it in the release beneath the hashtags. Do your best to provide a well-lit, high resolution image or your logo at the very least.

Step 6. Identify your audience.

Have your media contact list prepared and be sure you understand their press release submission requirements—each outlet can be different. If possible, send personalized emails to your top contacts rather than an impersonal blast email. You can send a general email to your broader list after the fact.

Step 7. Be sensitive to deadlines.

It can be tempting to send a press release “for immediate release,” but many print publications require at least a few days to work it into print—some even longer. Know their weekly deadlines to make it into print and submit ahead of time if you can.

Voila! Not so bad, is it? Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be churning out press releases like an old pro. Shoot for at least one release per quarter and see what unfolds—and if you’re still unclear check out an example press release here and reach out to the MTravel team for advice—we’re happy to review and provide feedback on your work. Good selling!

Are you ready to start your independent travel business with MTravel? We are here to help! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799. Be sure to check out our website at www.MTravel.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.