If you want to get media coverage for your small business or new products, writing effective press releases is an essential skill. But how long does the press release need? What kind of information should you include? Here are some tips to get you started:
The news story must have newsworthiness
Before you try to write a press release, consider what you like to read, watch, and listen to on the media. Most of us are usually interested in things we haven’t heard before, and it’s surprising or helpful to solve our problems. So before drafting your press release, it’s worth asking yourself these questions:
- What is new in my story?
- Is there anything unusual or unexpected?
- Anyone outside my company is interested in this news?
- Does this story match the media characteristics?
- Does it have the value of being a news?
The last one sounds harsh, but it may be the most important: your boss may be excited about the new product, but will other people be interested? If the answer is no, press the press release until you have a better story.
If you’re not sure whether your story is newsworthy, read, watch, or listen to the publications or shows you want to cover to understand the types of stories they typically cover.
1. Get attention with a good headline
The beginning of the press release – just like magazine articles, books or brochures – is the most important. A strong headline (and, in this case, when you tone, the subject line of the email) will attract reporters to find good stories. Your title should be as attractive as it is accurate.
2. Correctly reach the points in the first paragraph
Because journalists are busy people, you must assume that they will only read the first sentence and then scan the rest – even this is a generous assumption. Get up to speed on your press releases. Every important point of view should be resolved in the first few sentences. Subsequent paragraphs should be used to support the information.
3. Includes hard numbers
It’s easy to fill a page with a simple creative narrative. Leave art to the writer – package your press release with new data to support the importance of your product or announcement. If you want to declare a trend, you need to provide evidence for backup. By quantifying your argument, it will become even more compelling.
4. Make it grammatically perfect
Proofread your press release before sending it – and let others check it out. Even a mistake can stop a reporter from taking you seriously.
5. Include quotes as much as possible
There is a natural color source that cannot be copied: quotes. A good quote, including someone in the company or near a product/activity, can provide a human factor for a press release and is itself a source of information.
6. Include your contact information
A common oversight that could lead to the invalidation of a press release is the lack of contact information for follow-up by reporters. Whether you or someone else in your company is a contact, don’t forget to include your email address and phone number when posting (preferably at the top of the page).
7. One page is best – two are the maximum
As with most good writing, shorter ones are usually better. Limit yourself to only one page, but accept two pages. This will also force you to compress the most significant information into more readable documents – the reporter has been looking for.
8. Provide more information
You must limit your press release to one page (two pages if necessary), but that doesn’t mean you can’t show people how to find out more. Provide links to your company’s website, and expect the author to know more about your mission and the tasks you have completed, which is a key element of the release. Don’t let writers search for more information themselves – guide them to your website as soon as possible and keep them interested.
9. Be concise
The ideal length of the press release is approximately A4 side or approximately 400 words. This is just three to four short paragraphs and a few quotes. Unless your brand or product is particularly attractive, it’s hard to read it.