The goal of a press release is to make sure your message gets as much publicity as possible. To achieve this, there are some simple rules to stick to that will ensure journalists spread your message far and wide for you. Remember your audience also includes people of influence in the industry as well as potential customers, clients and partners. It’s surprisingly easy to write a good press release. There is a tendency, however, to waffle and over elaborate, forgetting that writers and journalists will follow up and fill in the gaps.
First and foremost is the headline, which should effectively summarise the content. This must be a new development, rather than something that’s been the case for a while. It must also be news from the company submitting the release. Readers will scan over headlines and usually ignore most of the body looking for something interesting, so it’s important to get your key information out concisely. The headline should be targeted to the audience in which you’re trying to gain publicity. This means it will want it to contain a location, product, or interest relevant to who you want to be reading.
To write the content, the main consideration is in answering the following five questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who, what, when and where can be answered in a single sentence. To answer why, consider the impact of this development, and give a short summary of what’s significant to the public. Journalists are not interested in you bigging up your press release with flowery language; objectivity is key. That said, a quote or endorsement can be inserted to add weight to the release. All in all the length should be around 200 words, though this depends on where it’s being sent.
To finish your press release, you state that further information can be obtained through a contact name and phone number at the bottom. Follow this with the word ENDS, then any relevant further contact details. This is where your audience might get in touch for interviews, or simply to find out more. Making further contact easy is key, as it means you can fill out the details for those who are interested.
The key thing to remember is a press release is it’s a way of gaining publicity, not an article or advertisement. Increased sales and improved public or private relationships are a byproduct of good publicity not a precursor.