Top Eight Tips on Writing a Press Release
Whether you are a small business or a major corporate leader, we can all value the importance of writing a press release. They can make the difference between having your company promoted in the news or not. So if you are looking to get more publicity for a recent event or venture your company has gone into, you have to ensure that your press release is ticks all the right boxes .
There are eight steps which must be considered when writing a press release, to ensure it reaches its maximum potential. The last thing you want is for the reporter receiving you press releases to spend 20 minutes figuring out what it’s about and to realize that it has no importance to them at all.
So when writing a Press Release, keep these points in mind:
1. Who are you writing for?
Before you start writing anything, first think who do you want to send this to, and will they find it interesting? If the answer is yes, then get to know their style of writing and what they have previously written about. By getting to know what the reporter has already written, it will give you a better idea of what to put in your own press release to ensure it catches their attention. It also makes sure that you are targeting the right person for your press release and not wasting their time as well as your own.
2. Catchy Headline
You might think it’s obvious that the headline has to be catchy, but more often than not we forget about it. Make sure you keep it short, at around 5-7 words long and ensure that it sums up exactly what you want to talk about in your press release. If you are emailing your press release to journalists, think carefully about what your subject line will be. Busy journalists will click delete if you email looks like a bulk sent email with the subject line along the lines of: “Press Release: Announcing new venture”. Before sending the email, just ask yourself, “would I open this email?” based on the subject line. If the answer is no, start again.
If you are emailing your press release, don’t forget to include the body of text in the email as well as having it as an attachment. Your main attachment options should be either Word or PDF, as all reporters will have the software available to open those files. When deciding between PDF and Word, the deciding factor is whether the visual format is vital to your press release or not. If the visual look must be kept in tact, it would be best to send it as a PDF, otherwise Word documents tends to be more manageable and easier to read. Don’t forget to add a header and footer with your logo and contact details on your press release, if you could use letter headed paper even better.
Keep it simple and easy to read. Think about the recipient of your press release as knowing absolutely nothing about the topic you are writing about. This means keeping the lingo to a minimum and explaining tricky subjects in a clear and easy to read format. So NO confusing technical terms!
A press release must not be long. It’s meant to be a page, or two at a push. Remember to add in just the key facts and not everything that has happened. It is up to the journalist to decide what they want to expand on and lengthen if required, not you.
Adding a quote or two will help give your press release more value. Add the details or who the quote is from, for example their full name, job role and who they are in relation to the story. Make sure that the person being quoted will be available to be contacted again, so if they‘re planning a holiday soon, pick someone else to get a quote from.
Nothing is worse than a messy, unstructured press release. They are simply a nightmare to read and even harder to get any useful information out of. A journalist with a busy schedule will throw it away within just a couple of seconds of reading it. You should have a clear introduction, main body of events and a conclusion. Make sure you keep the paragraphs short, about 2/3 sentences in each. And keep your sentences brief, one sentence per point is perfect.
8. Contact Details
At the end of the press release, don’t forget to add your contact details. If you see that your reporter uses their Twitter account regularly, why not add your Twitter name alongside your phone number and email. It may be their quickest way at contacting you. You want to keep all your options available to you, so don’t limit your contact details to only email.
Those are the key points to consider when writing a press release. If you follow these steps you will be able to create a readable and sell-able story for journalists to use. There is no set rule to exactly what it must look like, just make sure you keep it short, easy to read and relevant!
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