Press Releases - Our Guide and Top Tips
by Lorraine Nugent, of Sussex Advertising and PR agency Media Word Waves
Press releases are a very cost effective way of marketing your business. With a press release, you are distributing a news story about your brand, in the anticipation that a publication will run it as a story. Unlike a paid advertisement (see our Guide on Advertisements ), there is no guarantee they will use it, and even if they do they may only use part of it, and reword it as they see fit.
There is therefore a considerable skill in putting a press release together to make it stand out from the crowd. At Media Word Waves, we work with our customers to put effective press releases together. With seven years experience working for a leading UK newspaper group, we dealt with thousands of press releases and know how to make your press release stand out from the others. Contact us if you would like expert help in making your press releases work for you.
Our Top 10 Tips for writing a Press Release:
(1) Is it Newsworthy? Obviously, the more newsworthy the story, the more likely a publication is to use it. It may also be necessary to adjust the press release to match each target publication, so it would be of more interest to its reader profile. For example if the target is a regional newspaper, the regional aspects of the story should be emphasised.
(2) Create a Punchy Headline. Readers will quickly move on if they do not feel a story is of interest to them. Give the article a very punchy headline. These few words are the most important in the whole press release.
(3) Start with a Summary. In the first paragraph, summarise the story, but leave out specific details. The first sentences are the most important, after the attention grabbing headline.
(4) Include the Facts. Make sure your article covers the Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How. Make sure the Journalist has all the facts needed for the story
(5) Keep the Language Simple. Avoid jargon and don’t use words that are not in common use.
(6) Write like a Professional. Use the correct tense, for example said not says. Make sure it reads like a news story not an advertisement. Avoid the use of exclamation marks and BLOCK CAPITALS. Do not use direct reference, for example I, We, They.
(7) Don’t write a novel. One side of A4 is the maximum. With time pressures, if the journalist is faced with a long press release to read , they won’t bother.
(8) Proof Read. Ask a colleague, or even a family member, to proof read the press release as a final step. They should be able to understand it, you yourself may be too close to the story to see that your press release is missing important information. The importance of this cannot be emphasised enough, a bad press release can seriously damage your business.
(9) Include a Picture. Send a picture along with the press release so the publication has the choice of using it.
(10) Make it easy for the Publication. Provide everything necessary for the journalist to use your story; your name, contact details, web site address. The objective is for the journalist to quickly read your press release and think this is a great story, and have little or no work to do to work up the story. If they are faced with lots of work to do, they will drop your press release and use another. Build up a good reputation with the journalist, and your future press releases will be favoured.
Again, there is a considerable skill in putting a press release together to make it stand out from the crowd. At Media Word Waves, we work with our customers to put effective press releases together. Contact us if you would like expert help in making your press releases work for you.
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