First things first. The idea of a ‘press release’ template with a pretty company logo which is sent as an attachment to journalists is a bit outdated.
Most news is now sent in the body of an email, something a journalist can quickly scan to see if they are interested in the story.
But nonetheless the idea of a ‘press release’ still has merit in terms of a signed off statement or story about the company, with useful statistics and a quote from the relevant spokespeople.
Most importantly, it’s about thinking through ‘what is the news?’ and sending the right news story to the right journalist at the right time to gain the most traction.
Below are some guidelines for writing a press release that will gain maximum impact
What is your news?
What you may think is a story, may not seem like that to everyone.
Start by thinking who the audience is who needs to hear your news?
If your story is about a great business win then it is likely to be potential investors and the business community who will be interested. However, if it is a new service or product, then it will be your customers and they will be interested in very different facts and the ‘call to action’ will be different.
For customers, it helps to think of it as ‘news they can use’ something journalists regularly ask for in a story.
What need does your new service or product address?
Be FAB – Don’t just list the Features, also think about the Advantages and the Benefits
What statistics or research backs up your story?
And do your own research. What else has already been written on this topic?
Jot down notes linked to each sentence above and that is a great start for your press release.
Date and place. Sounds simple but add in the date and the location that your release relates to.
The first sentence. What is the story? The press release needs to sum up the story in the first sentence. The journalist will look at that sentence and decide whether or not to read on.
The body of the release will then flesh out the story including any
There should be a quote in the release from a senior spokesperson in your organisation. The quote should offer insight or an opinion. The ‘why this matters to your company’.
Some SEO experts will tell you to stuff the release full of key words. Whilst some key words are important, for the media it is more important that they find the story interesting, so best not to get hung up on key words!
At the bottom of the release there should be clear contact information should the journalist wish to contact your company.
There should also be a list of other content available for example
Case studies of customers or investors who are also willing to talk to the media
Any links to relevant financial information or research.
In the section reaching your audiences we cover the topic of knowing which journalists to send your story to.
And one final thing
The heading of the email matters.
Journalists receive 100s of emails a day with potential stories. Ensure the heading of your email is interesting enough to gain attention. For example ‘x company launches new service’ is far less likely to get picked up than ‘thousands of investors set to benefit from x’
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