Are you trying to craft a perfect press release? Perhaps your business or service depends on you getting a good write up in the press and you want to boost sales?
Then you’ll need to know how to write a press release. But how do you avoid them becoming spam? How can you attract the attention of busy journalists and editors who are likely to throw most press releases in the trash?
It might sound there’s a huge mountain to climb but there are a few steps you can take to refine your press release technique. Here’s everything you need to know.
- Try to Avoid Blanket Pitching
Imagine you are a journalist, perhaps you are a staff writer for a big publication that everyone wants to be featured in like the New York Times. Now imagine opening your inbox in the morning, it must be full of press releases and pitches from PRs trying to get their agenda across.
This can be disconcerting and you might feel that you are competing with all of these ideas. But there is a better way of getting your press release to the top of the pile.
Build genuine connections with journalists and editors. Know the ones you need to work with and network with them. Follow them on social media, hang out at the same media parties they do. Be funny and personable and don’t talk about work all of the time.
If you have a personal connection with a journalist or editor they are likely to take more kindly to your press releases and it will make it easier for you to stand out.
- Put Your Best Ideas at the Top
Writing a press release is not like writing a novel or a short story. Don’t keep your reader hanging out for the best bits. You need to get your best and most eye-catching ideas in at the start to make your reader – the journalist – interested. Use a press release template to help you.
Rank your ideas from 1 to 5 and decide what is most important if you are struggling.
Try to convey your message as simply as you can. Don’t resort to convoluted phrasing or verbosity. Be clear about what you mean and run your ideas and your writing past other people in your office.
Think about ideas that you could leave out if your press release is too long. Remember you can always convey these at a later date if a journalist or editor bites.
- Keep it Brief
Editors and journalists are busy people. The shorter and more impactful you can make your press release the better. Look at a press release sample if you are unsure.
Never write more than a page of A4 and try to aim for about half a sheet of paper. You can always fill out the rest of the page with images, links, and your company’s logo to make it stand out visually.
If you have a lot of ideas consider a staggered press release strategy where you sent out two press releases one week after the other with two different ideas in.
This might sound like more work and that you might be badgering the journalists but it can work out as a better strategy in many respects.
- Do the Work for Journalists
Be sure to do the work of journalists for them. Don’t make them work for your story. Write in a journalistic way so a journalist or editor can copy large chunks of your work straight into the paper.
Do their research for them. Contrary to popular belief you can add in links to your sources and investigate your idea as if you were a reporter.
Include some pictures that they could run with the story or some video footage if you envisage it running as a video story as well. This is a valid press release format to send out.
Be as helpful as you can and include links to all of your social media platforms and a phone number so they can ring you should they be interested in running the story.
All of these steps will also increase your likelihood of the journalist working with you again and taking a greater interest in your products. They will learn to trust you.
Be sure to take advantage of technology and use this pr submission to help you submit to journalists.
- Get Your Facts Straight
Don’t like or exaggerate in a press release. Although you are trying to sell your product you don’t want to feed journalists inaccurate or false information.
It’s much better for you to do extensive research and to be upfront about the potential pitfalls of a project if it’s necessary and then attempt to rebut them.
Journalists appreciate well-researched and accurate press releases. Remember don’t try to fool a newspaper or magazine. If you do send over a press release that they decide to use as the basis for a story they will do their research and will soon find out if you’ve had wild claims to get their attention.
Don’t rely on Wikipedia, use reputable sources and statistics from reputable bodies to support your press release.
Press Release: Do Your Research And Think About Journalists
The key to writing a great press release is to know your audience: journalists and editors. They are busy people who have to sift through hundreds of stories each day.
You can make it easy for them by writing in a journalistic style and including all the research, images, and video they need to turn this into a story easily.
If you are interested in reading more about how to write a great press release be sure to check out the rest of our site.