Press releases are short, informative pieces detailing event announcements, company updates/changes, product releases and other items companies deem “newsworthy.” Crafting a great piece could lead to a magazine feature, newspaper article or even television coverage! So is it that simple? Write up a quick release, send to the media and your information will automatically be grabbed by reporters? No. Not at all. Due to the fact press releases are a crucial element to any public relations campaign, all companies send them out. Your press release must first catch the eye of a journalist to be taken to the next level. Follow these seven tips to write a perfect press release.
- Attention, Please – The media receives thousands of emails each day and the way to grab attention through a sea of other releases is a killer headline. Readers spend only a few seconds to decide if your press release is worth finishing, and if they are not hooked by the headline, to the trash your press release will go.
- The First Paragraph – The first paragraph of a press release should answer who, what, when, where and how. One reason press releases do not get picked up is due to a buried lead – the most important part of your story. Reporters read the first paragraph and scan the rest of the release. Keep all the important details and information in this paragraph to give them what they’re looking for.
- Contact Information – Don’t forget to include a name, phone number and email address. The media wants to know who to talk to and who will talk to them. This is not the place for your over-worked boss or uninformed receptionist. Include direct, relevant contact information.
- Hard, Concrete Numbers – In a world full of fluffy social media posts and innovative books, it’s easy to mistake beautiful, creatively written press release for what needs to be written: an informative and direct piece. Pack your press release full of hard facts and numbers to reiterate your topic.
- One Page – Press releases should not be longer than 300 to 400 words which translate into three or four short paragraphs with a quote or two. If your press release is longer than that, you most likely have unnecessary information or “fluff.” This is not a place for an essay on your topic. Keep your piece short, sweet and to the point.
- Grammatically Flawless – Proof-read. Proof-read. Proof-read. Proof-read. Then have three other people proof-read. With one tiny grammatical mistake, a reporter will discredit you and even your company.
- Relevant Links – Press releases are not for your company’s sale’s pitch, but are a great place to direct readers to learn more. Include links to send the media for additional information on your topic and company. Guide readers to your website as quickly as possible while you have their attention.
Do not let the format of press releases limit you – break away from the norm and think outside the box to get your message heard.