Tips for writing a press release
Your business or organisation has something to shout about and wants the world to hear.
A well-crafted and genuinely newsworthy press release is a well-proven method of gaining media exposure both online and offline.
However, a journalist can receive hundreds of press releases a day, the majority of which go straight in the recycle bin.
Therefore, before putting pen to paper (or should that be finger to keypad) there are a few fundamental basics to consider to make your press release stand out from the crowd.
Is it news?
Before you even start writing the press release you need to take a step back and ask yourself – is it news?
If it’s simply an advert dressed up as news then you’ll be fooling nobody and most likely do more harm than good as any subsequent press releases will be viewed by journalists in the same light (that’s assuming they even bother to read it).
A great headline is your best, and first, chance to grab the attention of the news desk who will then be more likely to publish your article.
It also needs to entice the reader to want to know more.
Ideally a headline should be about six to eight words long and, if it is appropriate for the content, have some fun with it.
An introduction should encapsulate the whole story in no more than 30 words.
If a newspaper was to only use just one snippet of your press release, then your introduction should tell them everything they need to know.
Your press release needs a hook. For instance, if a widget company is launching a new widget then that in itself is mildly interesting.
However, if you can also explain what are the benefits of this new widget, e.g. whether that’s to customers, a boost to the local economy, etc, then your press release takes on a whole new level of interest.
Following on from the introduction and your press release needs to flow smoothly.
In its most brutal form, a newspaper is most likely to start cropping parts out of the press release from the bottom, so make sure you include the most important elements of your story at the start.
Don’t be tempted to rewrite War & Peace. If it becomes too long then it is likely that people will lose attention.
Call to action and contact details
As well as raising brand awareness, does your press release have another goal?
For instance, do you want to drive traffic to your website? If so, then include website details.
Although not for publication, it is also recommended to provide the media with the contact details of a qualified (and media friendly) person to ask if they need any further information.
If you need help in writing a press release then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org