A press release is simply a brief, compelling news story that is used to distribute information to the press, and ultimately the public. Press releases are an essential tool for getting the word out, and they are fairly inexpensive, too!
Here we provide our top tips for writing an effective press release along with some of our favourite tools to make the task that little bit easier…
Make Sure Your Story is Newsworthy
Before you take the time and effort to draft your press release, you need to be sure you have something new and important to say, so ask yourself the following questions:
Is my story offering anything new?
Will anyone outside of my industry or organisation care about this story?
Is this story relevant and interesting to my target audience?
Start with a Good Headline
Journalists receive hundreds of press releases and emails a day, so to ensure your story stands out from the crowd you need to create a catchy, yet informative headline that grabs their attention instantly.
It’s also handy to include “press release” in the subject of your email along with the headline so journalists are instantly aware of what they are receiving.
Never Forget the 5 W’s
Journalists are busy people and generally only get time to read the all-important headline, being able to only scan the remaining body of the story. For this reason, it is important you get the message out quickly and clearly.
A simple rule of thumb is to ask yourself the following, to ensure you are answering all of the Journalists’ questions straight away.
Who: Who is going to be interested in your story?
What: What are you announcing?
Where: Where did it happen? Or where is it happening?
When: When did this take place? Or When will this be taking place?
Why: Why did it happen? Or why is it happening?
…. And the ‘How’
How: How did this happen? Or How will it be happening?
This helps make your writing more clear and concise by highlighting long and complex sentences and suggesting shorter alternatives.
To utilise this handy tool, you simply open it in your browser and copy and paste across your content, then let Hemingway work it’s magic!
Include a Quote
Journalists love quotes, so if you want your press release to provide added value – include relevant quotes that provide credibility. A maximum of two quotes per press release will suffice.
Avoid Industry Jargon
Although this may be relevant to industry professionals and certain audiences, you may risk confusing journalists and your audience if you use industry jargon. To ensure you attract the interest of a wider audience, keep it simple and always write as if you are writing for someone who has no experience in your industry.
Proof Read, then Proof Read Again
A poorly written press release with typographical and grammatical errors can and make you appear unprofessional and prevent a journalist from taking you seriously or seeing you as a credible source of information.
A tool that we rely on often is Grammarly. This is a simple browser extension that reads your writing whether it be in an email or in Word. Grammarly will identify typographical and grammatical errors in your writing and will provide correct replacements.
Include Your Contact Information
Include your name, phone number and email address at the top of the page so that the journalist can contact you to yield further information if they choose to run your story.
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