As PR experts, ‘how to write a press release’ is probably the number one question that we are asked. So, we wanted to share some topline tips on getting press release writing right.
THINK IN HEADLINES
Start by working backwards. Where do you want this content to go – and what sort of headline would communicate the story?
In other words, identify the “news hook” that makes this story relevant and interesting to the publications you are targeting.
Think about how you would summarise the most newsworthy element of the story and this can form the headline and lead of the piece.
It’s important to do this to give the story a clear, communicable and relevant focus – but it’s also best practice so you have a clear elevator pitch when calling media or as a subject line and opening sentence in your emails.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
Who are you targeting? Where does that audience live?
You can use different data points to find the publications, social media platforms and influencers that align best with your target demographic. This is an important step – there’s no point getting a lovely article in a magazine that is not read by your stakeholders or consumers.
Once you’ve identified your key publications, you will need to tailor information to align with their style and interests. For example, a consumer publication may be interested in a different aspect of a story to a trade publication.
Journalists are overwhelmed with the volume of articles they must create, as well as the volume of PR agencies that are contacting them with different stories.
So keep your information focused and to the point, to deliver the salient messages clearly.
Here’s a short checklist to consider, via Cision:
- Who are the important people in your story?
- What are the key facts the reader should know?
- Where did this news happen, or will it take place?
- When did this news happen, or will it take place?
- Why is this something the reader should care about?
- How did this story come about?
SAFEGUARD BRAND INFORMATION
It’s great to have creative ideas, tap into seasonal trends or happenings and pitch lots of different angles. However, all this energy is wasted if your brand messaging is not included.
Ensure that your brand’s messaging is integrated seamlessly into the story, not just a credit at the end. This will safeguard it from being deleted or compromised.
Invest in good photography – in the same way as the copywriting, create interesting lifestyle shots that will enhance your target publications, and ensure that the brand is integrated in these images.
You can also use a ‘Notes To Editors’ section at the end of your release to provide extended background information about your brand, the founders or spokespeople available for comment, and of course, don’t forget clear contact details for follow ups.