Press releases are an important part of a flight school's marketing toolbox. They help keep the community informed and are meant to pique the interest of journalists who can cover the topic further. Press releases are basically an article that you write about yourself and submit to newspapers and news websites. By doing the hard work for the editor or reporter you allow the news source to easily add content to their paper or site. The news outlet may take all or part of the press release and use it as an article. If you invite them to check out your school and follow up with your contact, they may even cover the story more in depth. Adding large equipment to your flight school, like a Redbird simulator, is a great example of an event that warrants a press release. Read these 6 press release tips and then download our Ultimate Guide to Writing an Effective Press Release with a template you can use.
1. Get to the Point Grab the readers attention with a good headline and then get straight to the point in the first few sentences. Start with the big picture version of your message and then order the details from most important to least important while including supporting information. Some editors may only publish the first paragraph of your press release, so get to the good stuff right away. Try to keep your press release 1200 words or less. If you provide accurate contact information, the journalist can always follow up with you for more details.
2. Include Quotes Include a quote (by two people at most) from the flight school owner, chief CFI, current customer, or newly certificated pilot. This helps provide a human element and creditability. A quote should sound natural and conversational without much technical jargon.
3. Use Correct Grammar and Spelling You want your press release and your business to be taken seriously, so be sure to proofread your press release multiple times before blasting it out for all to see.
4. Use Plain Language It is easy to get excited about your announcement and fill the press release with too much technical information. This can be confusing to the journalist (and subsequently the reader) who may decide that the story isn’t worth covering because it isn’t relevant to people outside of the industry. Explaining that a flight simulator can help reduce training time and costs while improving safety is much better than discussing federal regulations and listing the number of hours that can be credited for each pilot rating.
5. Consider Your Target Audience Before sending out your press release, take the time to build your media contact list and ensure you are sending it to the appropriate people. For something like a new simulator at your flight school, local media may be most interested. Send the press release to journalists that cover specific categories like business, recreation, and lifestyle. Also, consider sending it to your area Chamber of Commerce and local pilot associations and clubs. If you only send your press release to national aviation outlets, it is quite possible that the press release will get buried in an inbox full of similar emails and eventually deleted.
6. Develop a Relationship with Your Local Press It may take some extra work, but including a personal email with the press release and a quick note explaining how it is relevant to that person can be the extra impact needed to move the story forward. You may even wish to call and introduce yourself to get them excited about your news. Encourage them to visit your school to fly your simulator. When the press join in on the excitement you improve your odds of generating interest and media coverage. Invite them to a grand opening, an airport open house, or a preview of your new simulator.