Does your company have some news to announce? Perhaps you’re launching a new product, or want to let everyone know about your new sales manager?
Whatever your news story, a well written press release will ensure it is firstly picked up and looked at by editors and then published, giving your company valuable exposure to the public via the media. Here are 10 top tips for writing a press release:
1. Keep it Short – Editors and journalists receive many press releases each day and donít have the time to work their way through pages of information. One page is all you need.
2. Language and Grammar – Language should be simple avoiding jargon, and keeping sentences short. It should be written in the third person and the tenses should be consistent, either referring to the past, present or future. Spelling and grammar should be double checked before sending to journalists – they won’t be impressed by anything that’s poorly written.
3. Use a Hard Hitting Headline – The headline should summarise the story, but must be punchy and create interest otherwise the journalist or editor will not bother to continue reading.
4. Dates – Give your press release a date so that the journalist can see how old the story is. If you need your story to be embargoed until a certain date, this should be clearly stated at the top of the press release.
5. First Paragraph – Considering the ‘pyramid’ model, you need to use the introductory paragraph to sum up what your story is with the most important facts. Don’t be tempted to sell. Explain who you are, what your news is, where it is taking place and when. These will communicate the nature of your story.
6. Subsequent Paragraphs – Use these to add detail and expand on what you said in the introduction, but don’t waffle on for the sake of it.
7. Quotes – By using quotes from a key source or supporting expert, you can bring your press release to life. Make the quote interesting and back up what youíve been saying rather than promoting your company.
8. Photographs – Using photographs always helps to make your press release stand out and will be attractive for editors to use with a story.
9. Note To Editors – It is common to include this section at the bottom of the press release. This gives background information to editors and can include such things as the URL of the website and a mini biography.
10. Targeting and Distribution – You can’t send your release out to everybody, so you need to think about who to target. Consider your customers and what media they value. Think about local and national options as well as websites, blogs and ezines. Most journalists and editors today expect to receive press releases by email. It is best to copy and paste your press release into the email to ensure that some or all of it is actually read.
There are many online PR distribution companies that will distribute your press release for you. Some of these are free, for example PR Log, Pressbox, Newswire Today and Biz PR. Others charge a fee but include emailing the release to a targeted list of journalists as well as RSS and social media syndication. Services such as Sourcewire and PR Newswire are some of the most popular.
Once youíve written and distributed your press release you need to monitor to see if it’s been used anywhere. It’s a good idea therefore to sign up to Google Alerts and subscribe to an online and offline press cuttings agency.
Writing a press release can take time and effort, but if it’s done properly, you could be rewarded with some fantastic coverage and promotion of your business.