A press release reports on a significant event or news topic that you wish to share with the public. Circulating an effective press release is essential for media coverage, but this can easily become a daunting task. A regular cadence of announcements can help a company stay relevant in the media landscape. However, this does not mean that every announcement is worthy of a release.
Most journalists are swamped with press releases every day, so simply timing the release right is not enough. PRs can spend hours trying to find the perfect headline or structuring the announcement. But where do you start? In order to make sure your story is newsworthy there are certain questions you can ask yourself: what’s new about this? Who is my target audience? And most importantly, is the angle focused on current or future concerns? Press releases should always relate to today or tomorrow, but never yesterday. If you are struggling to determine whether your release is newsworthy or not, then it is always a good idea to research the stories covered in your target programmes and publications for inspiration.
There’s no single recipe for drafting a perfect press release, but here are some steps you can take on your journey to mastering the art of press release writing:
Think of Your Target Audience
Start by thinking about your target audience. The readers of a business magazine will be very different from those of a regional newspaper. A release should be tailored to the readers the publication is targeting, and their interests.
When thinking about the audience for your press release, consider what knowledge they may already have about your announcement, and the type of language they will understand. The language you use might be appropriate for a specialist audience, but not for the general public.
Write the Perfect Headline
Writing the perfect headline is no easy task. Most journalists spend only a few seconds deciding whether to open an email or not, so the headline is the key to sparking journalists' interest and keeping them reading.
To avoid your email ending up in a journalist’s junk folder, make sure the headline is easy to understand and newsy. Your headline will need to summarise your announcement in the fewest number of words, so put on your creative hat for this step!
This is where you get to answer the six W questions – who, what, when, where, why and how. It is important to have a good lead that will encourage a journalist to continue reading your story. Take this as an opportunity to introduce the news story to your reader, and to present the most important information of your release.
A Quote That Can Stand on its Own
Including quotes from a reliable source will always be a good addition to your press release. Rather than adding more information, a quote should provide insight into the announcement. Make sure not to make the mistake of adding a quote because every release needs one. Instead, write a quote that can showcase the thought process or impact of the particular news story.
An Informative Boilerplate
A boilerplate is the perfect way to close a release. Use it to draw attention to your client and their business. It is always a good exercise to imagine that a journalist might skip straight to your boilerplate, so make sure all the critical information about the company can be found here!
An engaging press release can generate media traction and build business credibility. Now that you know the importance of a press release, make sure it becomes a key part of your PR strategy. For more PR tips and industry-specific news visit our blog page or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.