Unless you’re at the head of a large corporation, the responsibility for getting newsworthy information about your business out to the journalistic ranks probably falls squarely on your shoulders. If so, it’s important that you know the secrets to writing press releases that get the attention of the newshounds who will actually drive your publicity. Journalists are a fickle bunch and they see many, many press releases every day. So, the mere fact that you’ve sent them one is no guarantee that it will even get read, let alone picked up for a column or article. By following a few golden rules though, you can improve the likelihood of getting your story into the publications and onto the websites that matter to your industry and its market.
How to Write Press Releases that Rock
The following four tips will help you make sure you have the best chance of attracting journalistic interest in your press releases.
#1: Know the concept of a press release:
A lot of people think that writing press releases is something you do when you want to promote a product, but really that’s a mistake. A press release is about showcasing something worthy of special attention. When you write a press release, you’re selling an idea, not a product.
#2: Ask yourself the following questions before you set to work on writing your release:
- a) Is there anything that’s new in this story?
- b) Is there anything unusual about the subject of your press release?
- c) Is the topic going to interest anyone who isn’t directly involved in your business?
- d) Will anyone care about what you’re telling them?
If the answer to any of these four questions is “no”, better to save your effort and wait until you have a better story to tell.
#3: Get the headline right:
If any aspect of writing press releases is worth taking time over, it’s the headline. Make your headlines accurate and engaging. Sell a concept, not your brand name. Remember that those first few words at the top of your release may get your story read, or consigned to the recycle bin.
#4: Remember the five W’s:
Lastly, remember that journalists always have the five W’s of reporting in mind when evaluating a press release. They want to know who, what, when, where and why. Therefore, you should try to answer all these five questions as concisely as possible when writing press releases. If a journalist wants to know more, she will contact you to ask for further information. Of course, we’re not all great at telling and selling the kind of stories that get media attention. If writing press releases is not your bag, you don’t have to soldier on regardless. You could always hire a freelance writer or a virtual assistant with copywriting expertise to create your press releases for you. None of us is good at everything, so investing a small amount to put your PR writing in the hands of a skilled wordsmith will save you some time and potentially get more of your stories successfully out into the public domain.