Tips for Write an Effective Press Release
Most people working in PR and marketing have written a press release or two. And while writing press releases may be familiar territory for many, knowing how to make them effective—from writing to sending, and everything in between—can still be a little baffling.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing and distributing your press release. We also help you determine what kind of news is really newsworthy.
Write in the third person; don’t say “I” or “we” unless you’re using it in a direct quote.
Consider the reader’s perspective; why should they care and what makes your news special?
Be brief if you can; one page, or 400-500 words, is best.
Get to the point up front and clearly; don’t lose a reader’s attention from the start because she or he can’t figure out what the release is about.
Avoid sales-pitch language and tons of adjectives, both which lose credibility in the eyes of readers.
Keep your own opinions out of it.
Write without using a lot of industry jargon; don’t assume that everyone who’s reading it will know what you’re talking about.
Proofread! Do your own careful review to avoid costly errors.
Identify and use keywords that searchers are likely to use when searching for news like yours.
Use appropriate keywords in the headline and body of your release, but don’t overstuff. Remember, search engines are known to change the rules when it comes to using keywords, so make sure you follow the most current search engine guidelines.
Create multimedia elements and include them in your releases, such as a YouTube video or a series of images.
Email the release yourself to your targeted media contacts.
Pick up the phone to follow up; a human touch is sometimes the key difference between a release that gets missed because of a spam filter and a release that gets noticed.
Understand the nature of your news. Is it a big deal, worthy of being distributed nationwide over the wire? Or is it better suited for online-only distribution?
Consider both the media and consumers when it comes to timing, and find out from media sources what their cutoff times are for receiving news.
Feature-length stories generally need more time to develop (a month or two).
OK, so that’s all great, but just what, exactly, is considered newsworthy these days? Online news sites and search engines have made it easier for anyone’s news to grow legs, but what if you want to increase your opportunities to make an impact? Try answering these questions when you sit down to write your next press release:
Is your angle different from other similar stories and/or does it offer a unique perspective?
Does your message contain new information, even if it’s about an older subject?
Can your message bring light to a problem or issue, or, conversely, provide a resolution to a problem or issue?
Does your message carry emotional weight with bloggers and other readers?
Does your message involve or quote a famous or high-powered person?
Does your message impact the geographical location or environment of the reader base?
If you can affirm your story with one or some of the above, you’ve likely got a newsworthy topic in hand.