One of the largest parts of our job in public relations is writing and sharing press releases to announce our clients’ news. It’s no surprise that journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, many of which will be from other PR people, hoping to share something worth publishing.
As such, it is vital to make your press release stand out. Press releases can be quite tricky, their style of writing means that you can’t embellish stories or craft intricate narratives. But, there is a fine balance that must be found between a perfectly curated announcement and simply being a bit too dull.
At Eskenzi, we pride ourselves on the quality of our writers, particularly when it comes to press releases. We recently asked our team for their number 1 tips on how to write and share the perfect press release, and here’s what they said:
Have the key points stated in the opening paragraph – don’t waffle – remember the 5 Ws
The first paragraph is the most important. If you can’t catch the readers’ attention in the first sentence or two, you may lose them completely. As such it’s important to be clear and concise in the first paragraph, include answers to the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why) and remember not to waffle.
Focus on the issue not the product
When putting together a press release, it is easy to get caught up in what news is being put out, particularly if you’re dealing with a press release. Rather than detailing every bit of information on the product and what it does, think about what problems it solves and why this might be useful for others in the industry to know. This adds more value to what’s being put out and is often more useful for journalists looking to write about it.
Have a good template:
Having a skeleton framework based on a successful press release from the past is crucial before you begin writing a new one. This means writing a press release becomes less free form, and more of a formula. Make sure you know your key points to highlight, have your quotes ready and why the news is important. You can then enter all this information into the pre-existing template and voila, you’ll have put together a concise and interesting release!
Have a good headline that uses no more than 10 words
The headline is the most important component of a good press release, as it should set out clearly what the journalist will be reading about. It should highlight the most important point and entice the reader to continue reading. If you can’t catch someone’s attention with the headline, you may risk the entire release going un-read.
Have the company boilerplate on hand.
This goes hand in hand with having a good template. By copy-pasting the company boiler plate onto the bottom of the page, not only will it feel like you’ve already written a good chunk of your release, it will give you something to reference back to. You’ll have the vital information about your client that you can use when writing about what the product does, and why it’s important in the industry and to any potential clients.
Keep it to one page.
This should equate to about three or four paragraphs – no one wants to be wading through reams of writing. Here it is important to focus on Point 1. In other words: Keep it Simple!
Don’t forget to add a media contact at the bottom of the release.
This could be you, this could be the client’s in-house PR representative. Make sure you know who is taking the lead and include their contact details at the end of your release. That way, people know who to get in contact with should they have follow-up questions.
Get a killer quote!
A good quote can make the difference between a press release being published and ignored. If your spokesperson has something vital to add to the conversation, journalists are more likely to include them in their pieces or even request follow up interviews. Hint: You can use your quote to include information that isn’t vital to the body of the release, but still an important part of it!
When you send it, copy and paste the text into the body of the email.
This is more of a technical ‘do’ as opposed to writing advice, however it does tend to be appreciated by journalists. This way they can quickly scan the whole release without opening what may be mistaken as a dodgy attachment. We do work in cybersecurity – remember that many people prefer not to click on links, no matter how legit they appear!
Be aware of the news cycle
Unfortunately, we’re living in a weird world at the minute where there are many different things going on. When putting out a press release it is important to not only piggy back off different global events (maybe your news solves a problem to an on-going issue, or offers advice regarding something in the news), but also to be sensitive of them. Don’t put out news when another global issue is being widely reported on – yes, our job is to hijack the news and get our clients out there, but we should also know when and where to insert ourselves into a conversation. If there are bigger things to worry about, your release can wait another week!