How to write an effective press release
We offer our clients a range of services to help promote their business, from articles and blog posts to case studies and press releases – there’s even some social media implementation. As a result, a lot of the work involved in putting campaigns together is conducted behind the scenes.
When it comes to the above, content is – as they say – king; but how that message is shared is just as important. Every client has the same goal (to let their target audience know about their latest product or service), but how this is achieved can vary. While social media might be the preferred platform for one company to reach out to its customers, it may not be the ideal medium for the next. As digital and content marketing specialists, we carefully employ a number of strategies to help clients achieve maximum market exposure.
Here at Page Melia, we like to practice what we preach, so we’ll be running a blog series on the various aspects of PR and digital marketing and how we make it work for your business.
From writing effective press releases, blogging for business, maximising video marketing on a website, or exploring what social media channels you should really be using, we will cover it all. And as an introduction to the series, we’re going to go back to the beginning to look at the staple of any campaign… the press release.
These days, it is virtually impossible to make it through 24 hours without hearing the words Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/insert any other social media outlet here. Despite these being quicker – and some would argue ‘cooler’ – ways to impart or exchange information, a press release remains one of the most successful communication tools for a business.
Or, more specifically, a well-written press release.
It’s an effective way to promote goods or services and to let people know you have something new and important to say. But in such a crowded market, how can you make your story stand out from the rest?
Journalists and editors are busy people. They can receive anything from dozens to hundreds of emails in a day so it is vital that if you want your message to be read and shared by your target audience it needs to be seen in the first place.
Simply, you need a newsworthy story that captures and keeps their attention.
So, just what constitutes ‘good PR’?
1). A CATCHY HEADLINE
Let’s be honest; the fate of so many emails rests on its headline. If it is too long, journalists will discard it straightaway; if it is too short – and subsequently doesn’t make sense – it will go straight to the spam folder.
You want to grab a journalists attention and encourage them to read more, so make sure your headline is engaging. It also needs to be accurate.
2). GET TO THE POINT
The first couple of sentences should, in essence, tell the journalist everything they need to know about the release. The most important information must to go first.
The following paragraphs are where you can get into the nitty-gritty detail and a tried-and-tested method for doing this is the ‘5Ws’ method.
Who? Who are the key players?
What? What is new?
When? Is the timing significant?
Where? Where did it happen?
Why? Why is it important?
An additional question to ask is How? If possible, provide context for the reader. Support your statements or give examples as to how your product/service is being put into practice.
If you have answers for all the above questions, you’ll be able to compile a clear, proper and informative news release.
A quote (or quotes) should always be included within a press release. Not only does it provide a human element to the story, but it can also be a vital source of information in its own right.
The quote needs to be relevant, so keep it close to the product or service you are writing about and speak to someone who has been involved first-hand in the project.
Another great way to get a message across is through the use of images. If possible, always supply a photograph but be careful; image attachments can often clog up inboxes – which is a no-no with journalists and editors – or they could be flagged as spam. It’s a good idea to include in your press release, either at the beginning or at the end under 'Note to editors', that photos are available on request.
Also, don’t forget to include captions, where appropriate.
5). FURTHER INFORMATION
Make it easy for a journalist or editor to follow up with a story. Similar to the above, the ‘Note to editors’ should include the details for the relevant point of contact including an email address and/or mobile number.