How To Write a Press Release Journalists Will Read
If you’re planning an event, launching a product, or introducing anything new to your consumers, you need to spread the word. Social media and online advertising will do just that, but you need something formal and detailed, known as a press release, that can be sent to prominent businesses and media groups.
Although many people struggle with press releases, they can be quite easy to write if you have the correct formula. The most difficult aspect of a press release is getting people to read it, but don’t worry. We can teach you how to write a press release that will attract attention.
Before moving beyond this point, determine whether your story warrants a press release. Is the story newsworthy? Would someone outside your business be interested in your story? If the answer is no, odds are a journalist wouldn’t be interested either. If the story is new, impactful, and peaks human interest, you can begin writing your press release.
There are six major components to creating a successful press release.
Gathering all the important details is the first step of any news writing. If you aren’t in charge of the event or launch, speak to the people who are because they will have the most valuable information. It doesn’t hurt to research related industry trends or happenings to enhance the timeliness of the press release. By including statistics, case studies, or related events, you can convey why your press release is of value.
Fact check with all your sources to make sure that facts, times, dates, and locations do not change before sharing the press release. Deceiving customers is the best way to lose their trust, and printing the wrong dates and times are the best way to ensure low engagement come the event, or launch date.
2. Attention catching headline and lead
The goal is to hook readers with the headline. Begin with something intriguing, impactful, or shocking. Also, incorporate strong action verbs, such as “launch,” “reveal,” “achieve,” “advance,” or “boost,” to intrigue readers further. A good headline must be easy to find online. Use keywords in your headline that are related to your industry. Keywords are words and phrases that people use to find information in search engines. If your headline only pertains to your company, event, or product name, you won’t appear on more general searches.
The lead, or first few sentences of the piece, should include the most important information: the what, where, why, when, and how. Be as specific as possible. A lead summarizes the most important parts of a press release and summaries can get boring. Therefore, the what, where, why, when, and how should be as precise and short as possible. A strong lead is two to three sentences maximum.
One way to create an intriguing lead is by including conflict. People enjoy stories, and stories have good conflict. If there is no conflict to include, you can focus on the benefits, the impacts, or the novelty of the matter at hand.
3. The inverted pyramid
The inverted pyramid is a writing tool that identifies how information should be prioritized in news pieces. It explains that the most important information should be given at the beginning, followed by the least important information in ascending order. Most readers do not make it past the first two paragraphs, so by placing the most important information at the top, you ensure that your audience reads the key points before moving on to the next post.
As we’ve covered, the lead should summarize all the key elements of the press release in the most conveying way possible. The body of the press release gives you the chance to elaborate. It should include the story, supporting facts, quotes, the argument, and background information. The end of the piece should include general information, related topics, and any other extras. Be sure to include contact information, name, address, email, and phone number, at the end of the press release in case someone has questions or concerns.
4. Clear and concise writing
It only takes one error to discredit a good press release, so proofread your press release from start to finish so that your audience takes you seriously. Always be sure to take your audience into consideration when writing. If it is meant for the general public, you may need to define technical terms, or any other industry related jargon. If the press release is simple and easy to understand, everyone can enjoy it.
Not only are you writing the press release for the general public, you are writing it for journalists. Language should be professional and resemble the writing style of the journalists you are targeting. Include all important details, but be brief. Readers have short attention spans, so make sure that what you are writing is short and to the point. A one page press release is ideal, a two page press release is the maximum.
Also, press releases should be written in the third person and should refrain from addressing the audience directly as “you.” The purpose of a press release is to promote, but it shouldn’t be too promotional. Instead, it should be written like a news piece with facts, quotes, and links to more information. The more links to and from your press release, the better it is for your search engine optimization, which will draw more traffic to your website.
Expert opinion will give a press release the credibility it needs to be a trusted news source. Reliable sources include those who are closely working on, or being impacted the most by the topic at hand. Speak to the company owner, customers, and industry experts to get quotes with impact.
Only quote someone if it adds character to the piece. For example, facts and figures should always be paraphrased, while interesting tidbits should appear as quotes. To determine if something is quote worthy, consider whether the person used interesting diction, said something shocking, or used bias language. The writer of a press release can’t say, “It is going to be the best event in St. Pete’s history,” but a customer can. Only use positive quotes in a press release. Anything negative will attract the wrong kind of attention.
Always fact check, especially when it comes to quotes, to make sure that all details are true. Mis quoting someone could cause unwanted conflict and put off readers.
Post to your own personal blog and social media. Tag prominent media outlets in your area: The Tampa Bay Times, Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Trend, Kapok Marketing, Centro Tampa. These are the outlets that will get the event or launch the most media exposure. Media outlets are always looking to cover new events in their areas that will increase their readership. Send them the press release in an email well in advance, so that they can provide their own coverage. News is time sensitive. At the top, make sure it is clear that your story is for immediate release.
When pitching your press release in an email, be personable, make the subject line short and simple, be brief, and keep them wanting more information. Make sure to send the pitch to a reporter in the appropriate field, and to address the reporter by name.
If your small business needs additional assistance with press releases, contact us at email@example.com or (727) 214-5844 to see how we can help.
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