If you have something happening in your business and you want to get some positive media exposure, a press release offers an awesome way to get it. Here’s why…
1: A press release allows you to get your message down on paper and ensure you include everything that you feel needs to be said.
2: Journalists are super busy and are often swamped with a list of interviews to do, and so, appreciate a well-written press release which they can use.
3: A press release can be sent to more than one publication and can be published on your blog/website or social media page.
In my 17 years as a journalist, I have had more than 160,000 press releases sent to my journo inboxes. Only a small percentage of those became news stories.
Did you know that you’ve got about 3 seconds to impress a journalist with your pitch and press release before it’s binned or accepted?
Here are 31 tips to help ensure your press release doesn’t get put in the trash.
1: Keep your press release under 400 words. If you can’t fit your story into that space, you’re trying to say too much. Revise your key messages and cut, cut, cut!
2: Include the most relevant information at the top (introduction). Please don’t hide your best line at the bottom!
3: Never write anything that you wouldn’t tape to your back and wear while walking down the main street. Seriously!
4: Use everyday English and don’t waffle. Some people write like they talk, but that’s not always a good thing, either. Find a balance.
5: Write in the third person, present tense. For example…“It’s the heart of our business,” she says.
6: Always include live quotes from at least one source (that’s you). See quote above.
7: Give the press release an engaging introduction. This is your hook and the line that the journalist will read to decide.
8: Make sure the first two lines of your press release contain the 5 ws and h. (Who, what, where, when, why and how).
9: Put the most interesting information into the first few paragraphs.
10: Keep your sentences short and sweet.
11: Avoid inflammatory remarks/lies which could backfire and never criticise your competition.
12: Avoid unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. They are very annoying and are not an unexpected surprise.
13: Ensure that all your facts, comments, and data is 100 percent accurate.
14: Avoid repeating yourself.
15: Ensure the press release identifies who you are and where you are from. (Never assume people know who you are.) Always include the location in the first line or two.
16: Include some engaging paragraphs that progress in a natural way through the story.
17: Ensure the release is informative and interesting overall.
18: Ensure your key messages are clear.
19: Include any supporting stats or data within the text of the 400-word press release. (Do not send web links or pdfs with your press release! Do not include information below the press release which should be in the release.) The whole purpose of the release is to make the understanding of your information as easy as possible for the journalist. They will always ask for links or data if they want it afterward.
20: Include comments with quotable soundbites. Don’t use flat, boring comments.
21: Ensure you use your Google keywords within the release and also add a backlink to a purpose-written page on your own website. If the journalist agrees to publish your story, politely ask them to include the link.
22: Write a kick-ass, active headline after the rest has been written.
23: Include a boiler plate, which contains background information about you (awards you’ve won, your experience or credentials etc).
24: Include one or two good-quality, high-res press photo (also known as branding photo).
25: Include a photo caption, with names of people (if there is more than just you) from left to right and credit the photographer.
26: Include your contact details.
27: Share the press release with a journalist by email, with an engaging and short email text. You should know what makes the story newsworthy.
28: Writing a press release exclusively for one media outlet can sometimes (depending on the news outlet) increase the chances of the release being used. Nobody wants a release that’s been printed somewhere else!
29: Manage your expectations. A press release might not be used for a variety of reasons – from just being relevant enough for readers to being bumped off the page by a better story at the last minute.
30: Never give up! If one publication won’t take it, ask why (be super polite and don’t be confronting). That feedback will help you improve the release. Send it to another outlet.
31: Always spell check and ask someone to read it before you hit the send button.
Email me if you want me write your press release and do all the legwork with local media for you or call me on 087 3901013.
A press release is a powerful sales touchpoint when published by media. It carries all your key messages and helps customers to convert faster, meaning less hustle for you. That first contact with your new client could get closer.