Six top tips for producing the perfect press release
Creating a press release that is going to hit the mark with a journalist, follows a set of rules that must be adhered to if you want your stories to appear in the media and, importantly, maximise their impact.
If you are producing press releases and they’re not being picked up or, when they are, they don’t create the same buzz as those from your competitors, you can be fairly certain it’s because you’re not following these rules.
Here are our six top tips for producing the perfect press release.
1. Use a relevant title.
In reality, the title isn’t that important as long as it gives the journalist a clue to what the story is about.
It helps if it’s a bit intriguing, but don’t try to be too clever or try to suck the journalist in with a title that is intriguing, but has nothing to do with the rest of the press release.
2. Tell the story in the first sentence (certainly in the first paragraph).
Journalists don’t have time to wade through a lengthy diatribe in the hope of uncovering the real news story within it. Cut to the chase. They know what they’re looking for, but they’re not going to spend their time searching for it. They expect you to do that for them and put it right at the start.
3. Is the story strong enough?
This is vital. Is what you’re writing about really newsworthy? Just because it’s important to you, doesn’t mean it’s important to anybody else.
If you were the editor, would you print the story? Ask yourself this: What’s in it for people reading it? Do they get a benefit / are they going to be interested? If it’s not obvious, it’s not a good story.
4. So what?
If someone reading your press release is tempted to say ‘so what?’ at the end of a sentence, it’s likely that the sentence hasn’t done its job.
In a press release, every sentence must make a worthwhile point. If it doesn’t, take it out.
5. A picture speaks…
Have you got a GOOD picture to go with your press release; a picture that adds interest to the story?
This is arguably more important then the words. A picture will grab people’s attention, be more memorable and, from a reader’s perspective, it says a lot about how you value your own products or service.
The flip side of this is that sending in a bad picture can cost you dearly. At best, it just won’t be used by the media. At worst, it will associate your products or company with poor quality.
6. Invest time
To write a press release well, you need to spend time on it. Edit it, redraft it and rewrite it, until it is honed to perfection.
Good grammar and accurate spelling goes without saying, but being able to structure sentences well so they maximise impact (without resorting to hyperbole) and are easily understandable (without ambiguity) to the reader are also ‘givens’ if your press release is going to work.
The more you write, the easier this gets (although, to be fair, it’s never easy).
Anybody can write a press release. But not everybody can produce one that’s effective. If it’s not working, one (or more) of these six tips is missing.
Alternatively, you can always get someone else to write them for you. [Ahem].