So, you want to write a press release. Good idea — press releases can be highly effective promotional tools.
In this post I explain how to write a press release. If you find this useful, please subscribe to my blog. I welcome your comments.
Why a press release?
As a freelance writer, I am often asked to write press releases. Press releases are different to other forms of marketing material. This is because, if picked up by the media, a press release can gain valuable exposure for a business at minimal cost. And the great thing about media exposure is that it's seen as more credible than advertising — you are more likely to be viewed as a leader in your field.
To release or not to release? That is the question
The purpose of a press release is to provide the media an idea for a story, and to promote your business at the same time. So, before you race ahead, ask yourself:
- Is there anything new or different about this story?
- Will anyone outside my industry care?
If the answer is "probably not" to any of these, then don't bother.
You see, journalists don't actually care about your business. It's sad, but true. What they do care about, though, is an "angle"; a newsworthy story. Your press release must provide this.Enjoying this post? Please shareClick To Tweet
Do not get blacklisted
Journalists are busy people; they receive a multitude of press releases every day. So, don't waste their time. If you become notorious for supplying worthless press releases, guess what? You're emails will get consigned to trash without being read, even if, for once, you've uncovered a brilliant "scoop."
So, once you've established that you do, in fact, have an "angle", you must then think about structure.
Here are some tips:
- Keep it brief — a single A4 page is enough. You see, your press release is an idea for a story, not the story. So, don't try to recreate War and Peace, you'll be wasting your time.
- Make it easy to scan — make your press release as easy to read as possible. So, use short sentences, bullet points and bold headings.
- Remember the four Ws — get to the point fast. Like a journalist, try to include what, who, where and when in the first line of your press release.
- Include the most important information first — as already mentioned, it's important to get to the point quickly. So, include information by order of importance, with the least important bits at the end.
Your headline is critical — it's the first thing a journalist will see. Because journalists are usually inundated with emails, it pays to state "press release" in the subject line of your email. Also, though a catchy headline is good, but don't make it ambiguous. It is important that the journalist reading it understands immediately what your press release is about.
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