10 Essential Tips to Help Your Press Release Makes the News
- Make sure the information is newsworthy.
- Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
- Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.
- Ask yourself, “How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?”
- Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
- Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.
- Deal with the facts.
- Provide as much Contact information as possible: Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.
- Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release.
- Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.
Some Key Things to Remember
- Stay away from hype-bloated phrases like “breakthrough”, “unique”, “state-of-the-art”, etc.
- Always write it from a journalist’s perspective. Never use “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote.
- Read lots of good newspaper writing, such as the New York Times or the Washington Post to get a feel for the style.
- Shorter is better. If you can say it in two pages, great. If you can say it in one page, better
Information to Include in a Press Release
- A compelling e-mail subject header and headline.
- A first paragraph that covers the five W’s: who, what, where, when and why.
- Electronic contact information including an e-mail address for the press contact and Web site address of the company. Reporters working on deadline will often choose to call a company representative rather than wait for a reply by e-mail. Be sure that in addition to e-mail contact information a phone number for the press contact is listed.
- The mention of key clients or endorsement from a ‘non-biased’ source like university professor or software reviewer. You should have permission from those sources to use their remarks in your press release.
- A short paragraph at the end of the release containing background information about the company. This might include a synopsis of the activities of the company, how long they have been in business, and any area of expertise. If the press release is about a book or entertainer then cover career high-points.
Remember, not everything is news.
Your excitement about something does not necessarily mean that you have a newsworthy story. Think about your audience. Will someone else find your story interesting? Let’s assume that you have just spent a lot of effort to launch a new online store. Announcing your company’s opening is always an exciting time for any business, but the last thing the media wants to write about is another online store. This is old news and uninteresting. Instead, focus on the features of your online shopping experience, unique products and services. Answer the question, “Why should anyone care?” and make sure your announcement has some news values such as timeliness, uniqueness or something truly unusual. Avoid clichés such as “customers save money” or “great customer service.” Focus on the aspects of your news item that truly set you apart from everyone else.