Press Release Writing – Five Tips for Success
It is one thing to say you are going to write a press release. It is another thing entirely to do so in an effective manner.
Before we go any further, remember one thing: your press release will potentially be read by thousands upon thousands of people. For this reason, you must make sure it is 100 percent perfect before distributing it to the media for consideration.
The first time you sit down to craft a press release you may be confused. What information should I include? Who is my audience? Is there anything I need to avoid? These are just a few of the many questions that will enter your mind and throw you for a curve.
The more experience you garner the easier the press release writing process will become. Your first release may take you a couple of hours to write. By the time you have 10 of these under your belt, don’t be surprised if you are breezing through each one in 30 minutes or so.
Five Tips for a Better Experience
Regardless of how much knowledge you have of press release writing, the following five tips will surely come in handy:
- It is all about the headline. Okay, this may not be entirely true, because the rest of your release is important as well, but the headline is where every good press release starts.
Your goal is simple: to grab the attention of the person you are sending the release to (such as an editor or reporter), as well as those who will have the opportunity to read the information.
If your headline is engaging, while still being in line with what the release is about, you are on the right track.
- Don’t waste any time getting to the point. When a reporter has the chance to read your press release, he is going to take one glance and make a determination on what to do next. If you don’t get to the point sooner rather than later, there is a good chance you will miss out on a great opportunity.
Your main point should be addressed in the first couple of sentences. From there, you can include supporting information.
- Quotes are your friend. In some types of writing, including quotes from authorities, such as the CEO of a company, is looked down upon. This is not the case with a press release.
By including a quote from a company representative, for example, it adds a “human touch” to the story.
Before you sit down to write a press release, make sure you have at least one quotable source in mind. If you are able to quote yourself, you have nothing to be worried about. However, don’t be afraid to dig around for others who may be able to provide what you are looking for.
- Statistics are not required, but something you should try to include. If you have the chance to back up your story with statistics, it makes good sense to do so.
Maybe you are sending out a press release regarding a new product or service offered by your company. To you, this alone may sound like a great story. The same cannot be said for an editor or reporter who receives hundreds of pitches per week.
When you provide hard statistics you are doing more than throwing around numbers. You are making it easier for the reporter to push ahead with your story, being that they can draw from these stats to craft an interesting piece.
You don’t want to go overboard, but the more stats you can include the better.
- Don’t forget to include your contact information. You may be so excited about the “meat and potatoes” of your release that you overlook the importance of including your contact information.
If you make this mistake, your press release will not be very effective. After all, you are not giving reporters any way to get in touch with you.
No matter who you designate as the primary point of contact, yourself or somebody else in your organization, include as much contact information as possible. At the very least, this means the primary contact’s name, phone number, and email address.
Final tip: while it may not be your primary goal when writing a press release, you should always keep “search engine optimization” in mind.
If you are distributing your press release through an online distribution service, find out if you are allowed to include a live URL. There are two benefits of doing this:
- Every time your press release is published by another outlet, you will be credited with a link to your site
- It gives online readers the ability to click through directly to your site, hopefully visiting and contacting you for more information
Hire a Freelance Writer
If all this information has you confused, if all this information has you thinking that you will never have time to write a press release, it would be in your best interest to consider hiring a freelance writer.
When searching for a writer, ask the following questions:
- How much experience do you have writing press releases?
- Can you provide me with samples of your past work?
- What is your rate?
You may find that paying a freelance writer, despite the financial commitment, is better than spending your own time on this task.
With these five tips guiding you, writing a press release should no longer be a challenging, stressful task. Who knows, you may even end up enjoying the process.