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Five tips for writing an effective press release

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One of the best ways to promote a business is by making the news.

A well-written press release can be a great way of getting a positive story about your business published, reaching your target market in the process. Here are five tips that will help you make that happen.

Make sure your press release is newsworthy

Your press release needs to cover a subject or story that people will be interested in reading. Ultimately, this is the main criteria that a journalist will be looking for when your press release lands in their inbox.

Good subjects tend to be employee successes and achievements, such as a member of staff going the extra mile to help a customer. Long service and notable retirements also tend to make good copy. From a company perspective, recruitment drives, record profits and innovations are of interest.

Any human interest story involving the company would be a good angle to cover. This would be something that most people would be interested in seeing rather than a memo full of corporate jargon that will most likely ignored by a journalist.

Tailor your press releases

It’s worth researching the publications you’ll be sending your press release out to. For example, trade magazines are more likely to respond to stories outlining record profits or growth, whereas a local newspaper should be more interested in human interest stories.

There are crossover opportunities though, such as business pages in the local paper. It may be a case of finding out who the correct editor is for a particular section, and researching the type of stories they normally publish.

Gather as much information as possible

The basics of reporting involve finding out WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY. This will be no different for a press release, so make a journalist’s job easier by including all the information they’ll need to publish your story.

You’ll need to include full names, addresses, ages, dates and times of events, and job titles. Including high resolution photographs will also help your chances of being published, so they should be fully captioned with names and ages of people pictured too.

Structure your press release like a news article

News articles are usually written using the inverted pyramid structure, and your press release should be too.

The first paragraph contains a general overview of what the story is about, and should only be a sentence or two. The second and third paragraphs expand the story by giving a more full description of the details, containing the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY.

Further paragraphs will contain quotes from company personnel and/or the subject of the story, with less important details and background information at the end. To signify the story is over, type ENDS below the final line.

Try to write the press release in a style as close to the target publication as possible. The less work a journalist needs to do on a story, the more likely it is to be published as you intend it with your key messages intact.

Include notes for the editor

State the company name at the top of the page, with a brief header stating what the press release is about.

At the bottom, include a ‘notes to editor’ section that gives background information about the company and any possible leads a reporter could follow up. These can be interview opportunities, press conferences or related future events.

Finally, email over your press release and photographs/sources to the publication’s editor or journalist. Don’t feel the need to follow up the email, unless there’s something you’d genuinely like to add to the story. Editors won’t appreciate being hassled and it may harm your chances of being published!

For further tips and advice about press releases, please feel free to give me a call on 07738077516 or email david@contentnortheast.co.uk.