I recently worked out I’d just typed up my 10,000th press release and, despite the fact the PR world has been turned on its head in recent years, the essence of writing a good news release remains unchanged.
I regularly get asked ‘what makes a good press release’ so I thought I’d pull together a few thoughts to get you on your way.
That all important intro: you’ve got to grab the readers’ attention right from the word go. If you’ve lost them in the headline or first line, you won’t get them back.
Go for the jugular: put the essence of your news at the very top. Ensure the reader knows what you’re talking about immediately. Busy news-desks don’t have the time or the inclination to plough through paragraphs to find the essence of your news.
Get to the point and fast: keep things relevant, tightly written and interesting. You should stick to one side of A4, no more.
Spread your bets: elaborate on your news but give it some ‘colour’ by using a quote from an expert or spokesperson – how is your new product or service going to work, what impact will it have in the market place for example? Quotes help personalise – journalists like these.
Who are you? Ensure you let the reader know who you are and why you have authority to be in the news in your particular field. Give some company background and facts and figures but keep it relevant.
Know when to stop: don’t bore them to tears!
Get in the picture: send an interesting picture (or film clip) with the story. They can add serious weight.
Name names: always include contact details so anyone wanting further information can get in touch.
Watch your grammar: none of the above will work if your press release isn’t well written, punchy and attention grabbing. 99% of press releases end up in the bin – don’t let it happen to yours!
Timing can be everything: know the deadlines of the media you’re trying to attract the attention of and time your release accordingly. If in doubt ring the editor and ask them the best time to send news in. But always be courteous and appreciate they’re busy people.