How to write a press release

Getting in the press can be a great way to raise profile of your product or service particularly if your business is new. Better still, unlike advertising it shouldn’t cost you anything and will have far more impact.

The traditional and most effective way to getting your business in the press is to send a well written press release to the relevant editor. Here are some tips to help you write a press release that will get you noticed.

Tips for writing an effective press release

Decide what the story is – there has to be a point and some interest to your press release. Think about the “five Ws” (who, what, where, why and when) and cover these within the release. Try and tailor the story to the publication you are targeting, so for example if it’s aimed at the local press make sure it has a local angle.

Focus on the headline – keep the title short and snappy but don’t try to be too clever. It’s best to spell out what the release is about so it is immediately obvious to the journalist and include “press release” in the email subject line. Your press release needs to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Great beginning – make sure that the most important bit of your story is covered within the first couple of lines of the press release. Your story should ideally be summarised in the first line.

Keep it short – aim for around 250-300 words split into 3-4 paragraphs. Put background/additional information in a “Notes to Editors” section at the end of the press release.

Include a quote – a quote can be a great way to add context but make sure it sounds like someone actually said it. Avoid jargon and technical language/corporate speak.

Provide full contact details – put these in your covering email so that the journalist can get in touch if they require further information.

Include photographs – a good quality photograph can often sell a story. If you do attach a photograph make sure the photograph is good quality but check the file size so you don’t irritate the journalist by clogging up their inbox (I once crashed someone’s inbox by attaching too many oversized photographs!). Make sure you caption the photograph.

Bear in mind that journalists are bombarded with hundreds of press releases on a daily basis so don’t be despondent if your story doesn’t get picked up straight away. If your story isn’t of interest try and get some feedback as to why not so that you can factor this in with future press releases.

 

 

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