Did you know that the right publicity can be key to campaign success? This is where a press release could answer all your exposure prayers. A well written and well-targeted press release can be one of the most effective ways of getting your issue covered in the media.
Mastering the art of the pen (or in this case most likely the laptop) is vital when trying to get great press coverage.
Need some help in getting your release noticed? Read on to find out if you are following the necessary steps…
Next stop? EXPOSURE!
Don’t write a press release for the sake of it
First and foremost, your content has to be newsworthy! Unless you are reporting on something that is timeous, most people won’t be interested. Your release needs to be interesting and relevant in order for anyone to want to pick it up and pursue your story further.
P.S. Your news has to be NEW…
Angle is everything
Before you begin writing your hard-hitting piece, remember your angle needs to be interesting enough to attract attention. See below for some of the most popular angles which are typically sought after by the media:
- Human interest
- Local celebrity / local angle
- Unexpected events
- Controversy / scandal
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one press release angle. In fact, the more angles you cover, the more press your release is likely to get. Remember to always keep your target audience in mind.
P.S. Be sure to ask the right questions to help you find the best news angle or angles…
5W’s and 1H
Don’t forget the 5 W’s and 1 H, they are great guidelines in helping you answer central questions about the story you plan on telling:
Who? Who are the important people in the story?
What? What is new – what happened?
Why? Why is this important news – why is it different?
Where? Where did the event happen – where will they happen?
When? What is the timing of this – does this add significance to the story?
How? How did this come about?
Once you’ve answered the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How – ask yourself, ‘what do I want this press release to achieve’? Once you have the answers to these questions you are ready to start fleshing out your story.
P.S. Good writers ask questions…
The body rules
Always remember that new and important information should always be in the first few paragraphs of your press release, and the more mundane content should always be placed towards the bottom of the release. So, when you begin working on the body of your press release, here are some things to keep in mind:
- 400 words is good practice
- It is a good idea to include at least one quotation
- Sub-headings and bullet points can be useful to make information easy to digest
- Press releases should conclude with a ‘Notes to Editors’ section
- The release should always supply a media contact for a press representative
- On the last line of the press release, write ‘ENDS’
P.S. Always be sure to get sign-off from the company or individual you are about to issue it on behalf of, before publishing any content…
Your headline is vital
Usually, your headline is the first thing people see. This means you get one chance to grab the journalist’s attention and retain it for the duration of your story. One thing to keep in mind (the best of us even forget this) is to write your headline only once your release is complete.
Do you do this?
This way you see the story as a whole and you can better identify the most newsworthy title. Coming up with a punchy header is far easier once you have written (and rewritten) your release. Trust me!
When thinking up a clever header for your press release, keep the following in mind:
- I.S.S (keep it short stupid)
- Use the active voice
- Paint a visual picture
P.S. The max number of characters a headline can extend before it gets cut off in search results is normally 58…
Be sure to stand out
Many, if not all editors are bombarded by press releases on a daily. To ensure your content gets more than just a glance, you need to make sure you stand out. Because you want to get noticed (as do we all) why not try the following:
- Get your designer to create a kick-ass press release template
- Use only high-resolution images for maximum effect
- Think up a catchy subject line so more people want to read your copy further
P.S. Brainstorming some new ways to get your content seen could be really beneficial further down the line…
Most importantly – don’t forget to follow-up
As we all know, journalists/editors/bloggers are very busy people and it is possible (highly likely) your press release may have fallen through the cracks. To ensure you tried your best in getting your story out there – don’t forget to follow-up.
P.S. Do this at least once (twice if you must) but any more than that borders on a bit…well…desperate…
Now go on and get that perfect press release written…drafted…at least started – or read this if you need a few tips on beating that writer’s block.
Yes, you can have coffee first.
Happy writing ?
Does your brand need a stand-out press release? Why not take a closer look at our PR offering now.