Press releases are a major part of your PR efforts. Before you sit down to write a press release read over these key tips and use the worksheet as a guide to ensure all critical information is included.
Press Release Tips
You only have a matter of seconds to grab your readers’ attention, so you want to capture it with a strong opening. Your headline, summary and first paragraph should clarify your news. The rest of your release should provide the detail.
If your release contains hype, slang, excessive exclamation points or typos, chances are it will be viewed as an advertisement rather than a news release, which may hurt credibility. Or worse, a media outlet may pick up your release and publish without modification, opening any sloppy writing to a larger audience.
The best way to communicate is to speak plainly using ordinary language. Using an abundance of technical language and jargon limits your reading audience.
Make sure your Release is Informational and Timely
Think about your audience. Will someone else find your story interesting? Answer this question, “Why should anyone care?” Your release ideally will contain pertinent information that highlights something new or unusual, and provides useful information to your audience.
Avoid Clichés and Stick to the Facts
Avoid phrases like “customers save money” or “great customer service” to announce or describe. Focus on the aspects of your announcement that truly set you apart from everyone else. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations.
Pick an Angle
Make sure that your release has a good hook. Tying your information to current events, recent studies, trends and social issues brings relevance, urgency and importance to your message.
Illustrate the Solution
Use real examples to illustrate how your organisation solved a problem. Identify the problem and why your solution is the right solution.
Include Great Visuals
We are in a visual revolution - it is vital to provide relevant and stunning images to back up your release. As the majority of people skim read, providing an image that supports your copy will enhance the chances that they remember something about your article or, even better, act on it.
News search engines sometimes reject news releases with overly long headlines, excessive lists and high overall word counts. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives, flowery language or redundant expressions such as “added bonus” or “first time ever.”
Once written, print it and proofread it off-line. Edit and proofread again. Then pass it onto a colleague with a fresh pair of eyes to proofread again. We often miss our own errors.
Press Release Worksheet Questions
- What is the news being announced?
- What is the goal of this announcement?
- What date is this announcement being made?
- Why did you launch this product/service/event? Are there any statistics or data that will help make the case for why this is needed?
- What is the most unique benefit of this news to audience?
- What desire does it fill or problem does it solve? Why does anyone care? How is it different, better, new, innovative?
- Is there a call to action? How does this prospective customer find out more? Do they call a phone number, go to a website, visit your booth, etc? (this will be used as a last sentence in the body of the press release)
- Who can be quoted in the release to bring in a relevant viewpoint? Always get accurate information and sign‑off authorisation from anyone quoted.
- What publications or other media do you want to release this to?
- What type of tailored angle should you take in each release to get the editor’s attention.