How to write an engaging press release?
The web is filled with static content; this means bad news if you’re an up and coming business owner because there’s a sea of competition out there. If you want your brand to stand out, you will have to move away from generic company blog posts and start making some real headlines with press releases.
At Blue Whale Media, our content writing team has been coming up with some tips on creating a fool-proof press release that’s guaranteed to raise eyebrows. But first, here’s what you need to know about press releases:
What is a press release?
Press releases are short, factual news stories sent or given to the media to encourage editors or journalists to feature the story in their publications. They can also be published on the originators website, often on the news or media page, and adapted for company magazines or newsletters. Journalists are quick to spot organisations who dress up something as news to get free advertising.
Put a label on it
It might seem trivial, but the most critical part of your press release is the headline. Unless you’ve got a snappy line, chances are they your press release will go straight into the bin without being read. Think about what the key message is that you are trying to get across. Make sure it’s no more than 15 words and try to include some colourful verbs or adjectives in your press release. By hooking a journalist with a catchy or interesting headline, you’ll have passed the first headline.
Ensure you have a newsworthy story
For people to pick up the press release, you need to have something new and essential to say; here’s what you need to think about:
- Topical and Timely
- Your story needs to be recent, recent means today or tomorrow, possibly a week previous depending on the angle but nothing in the past. Does your story have something else to offer that is of great importance?
- The more people it affects, the more newsworthy a story is. It needs to be relevant, meaningful and interesting to the publication’s target audience. Who does your story affect?
- Unusual and Unique
- A good story is one that people have seen or heard before. What is the unusual aspect of your story?
- Human Interest
- Try to put people at the heart of your story because people create news for people. Who is involved?
The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side or 300 to 400 words. That’s just three or four paragraphs and a few quotes for perspective. Don’t be tempted to include background information about your company in the opening paragraph. You could also use subheadings and bullet points, which are useful to make information easy to digest.
While it can be a useful background document for journalists, a press release isn’t a story. When you send a press release over to a publication, it’s a good idea to include a short outline of your idea, more than a paragraph and why or where you think it might fit into the publication you’re pitching to.
Finally, be realistic in your expectations; most journalists are swamped with press releases, so it may take a few attempts to get coverage of your press release.