How to write a press release
Press releases are designed to get attention from the journalists you want to share your story. Journalists like nothing better than a well-written story that will grab their readers' attention – so what can you do to give your press release the best chance of success.
Here are my top-tips, based on my years on the other side of the fence when I was selecting the news stories for publication, not sending the product stories for submission.
A well-written press release that has a good structure and flow will trump a hastily thrown together release every time. And of course, spell check and spell check again - you're at risk of finding your final destination is the bin if the document is full of mistakes.
The headline is really important to the readers, and you will be saving the journalist some work if you provide a good headline. Headlines should be short and to the point, don't use technical words unless you have a specialist product and this is a B2B press release. And stay clear of jargon. Aim for 42 - 60 characters, which is SEO friendly and means nothing is likely to be chopped off in the snippet - which is the headline that will be read when people find your story via a search engine.
What's the story
It needs to be BIG news - and what you think is interesting to your business is not interesting to readers. New uniforms for staff is not newsworthy in itself, but if you are using a local, or independent business, or partnering with a business in your supply chain, then this transforms a run of the mill story to be news-worthy.
These topics all make good releases:
- New product launch
- A forthcoming event
- A recent event
- Valuable information such as reports or insights
Sublines and email headings
Subheadings are your first chance to get the email opened in the first place, and the second chance to grab the editor's attention. Your headline may be skimmed over but the sub-heading can be the real meat on the bones for the story. Choose your words well, write them, and come back to them when you have written the release and see if they still hit the mark.
Quotations give credibility and context for the story, and some extra information. Use people outside the business where you can as this gives you greater authority.
Include images (hi resolution), and logos, links to websites and case studies. To give your press release make it easer to read with sub headings and pull-out quotes. Do include a brief summary 'Note for editors', this is your place to add extra detail such as company history and by separating it this way it prevents the release itself from being too long.
Every release has to meet these criteria – if it doesn't you don't have a story and the journalist won't make it past the first paragraph. And make sure your stand-out information is at the top of the release, don't spend so long painting a picture that the real story is buried halfway down the page.
These are my seven best tips for writing compelling press releases which I hope is enough to give you the confidence to get started. Find out more about Digital PR services here.