So, you’ve got great news to share with the world. You just need the right outlet to share it in. That’s where press releases come into play.
A well-written and properly distributed press release can help generate leads for your business, increase awareness about a product or service, and even drive traffic to your website.
But before you send out your first official PR, you must understand what makes a good one stand out from the crowd of bad ones that tend to get ignored by editors.
|1. Start with a newsworthy angle that captures attention.|
|2. Craft a compelling and concise headline to pique interest.|
|3. Provide relevant and essential details in the body of the press release.|
|4. Tailor your press release for your target audience and media outlets.|
|5. Engage with relevant communities and influencers to amplify reach.|
|6. Utilize multimedia elements like images or videos to enhance your story.|
|7. Follow up with media contacts to build relationships and ensure coverage.|
|8. Proofread your press release thoroughly to eliminate errors.|
|9. Monitor and analyze the impact of your press release for future improvements.|
|10. Continuously refine your press release strategy based on feedback and results.|
1. Do Your Homework
The first step is to do your homework. There are a lot of things you need to know before you write your press release. You should know who you are pitching to, what publication or media outlet they publish for, and how many readers they reach.
You should also know their editorial calendar so that you can send your press release at the right time.
Also find out if the publication has a style guide so that you can ensure that everything in your press release is consistent with what they expect from their writers, especially when it comes to headlines and formatting.
Knowing the publication’s deadlines will help save time when editing as well as avoid unnecessary stress over rushing through something, which could lead to poor quality content overall (or even worse… sending them an incomplete draft).
Another thing worth researching would be circulation numbers; this way if there’s no online presence available already then maybe it’s worth trying another channel instead of just relying on social media alone.
It all depends on what kind of audience reach needs promoting at any given moment but it’s better safe than sorry when trying new things out!
Crafting a compelling press release requires attention to detail and strategic planning. Explore our comprehensive guide with 17 tips for putting together a press release to enhance your press release creation process.
2. Understand Who You’re Pitching
Before you start writing, it’s important to understand who you’re pitching. If you know who the publication is and its style, it will help make the process of crafting your pitch easier.
Once you have a list of publications that are relevant to your business and its products or services, do some research on them. Look at their websites and see if they have any guidelines for submitting content (which can be found in the “submission guidelines” section). If so, read through them carefully before beginning your pitch.
The next step is finding out what kinds of topics or angles these writers like covering and what kind of information or stories they’ve liked in the past.
That way, when you submit something for consideration by one of these outlets later on down the road or even during this round you’ll have an idea of whether or not it will be accepted from jump street (or at least if there’s a higher chance).
Navigate the intricacies of press release writing with valuable insights from experienced professionals. Learn about the crucial do’s and don’ts in our article on my favorite do’s and don’ts for writing press releases.
3. Make It Easy To Read
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing the body of your release is to make it easy to read. This means using short paragraphs, sentences, and words. It also means separating lengthy paragraphs into bullet points.
If you have a lot of information to cover in one paragraph, use bold text or italicize key points so they stand out from the rest of the text. Finally, don’t forget that numbered lists can be used effectively to organize complex ideas into easily digestible bites (see “How To Survive Your First Press Release”).
4. Sell A Story, Not A Product
To write an effective press release, you need to find a story that’s not just interesting, but newsworthy.
For example, if you are the CEO of a startup and have raised $2 million in funding for your new app called “The Great New App for People Who Love Technology” then that is not a very interesting story. However, if you are the CEO of a startup that has raised $2 million from investors like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher then that would be very interesting!
Now let’s take it one step further how do we turn this into a great copy? We need to ask ourselves two questions: 1) What does this mean for the reader? 2) How does this make someone feel?
If we can answer these questions and incorporate them into our writing style then we’ll have done our job well and will create something people want to read!
For startups aiming to make an impactful entrance, crafting effective press releases is a must. Explore our expert tips with 9 tips for writing press releases for startups to optimize your press release strategy.
5. Get To The Point
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” but it’s no less true when applied to press releases. When writing your first one, keep it simple and direct. Don’t waste time on flowery language or long explanations that don’t add value to your message.
While this may seem like an obvious point to make, there are many ways that writers can be unnecessarily wordy when crafting a press release:
They might use vague adjectives; overuse adverbs; or use passive voice instead of active voice (e.g., “Our CEO announced today that we want everyone in our company who works here at XYZ Corp.” versus “Our CEO announced today that XYZ Corp wants everyone who works here”).
The best way to avoid these problems is by keeping your sentences short and sweet that is, no more than ten words! The fewer syllables you use, the easier it will be for editors (and readers) to digest what you have written without losing interest.
6. Avoid Over-The-Top Pitches
Now that you’ve taken the time to prepare your release, it’s important not to be over-the-top in your pitch. There’s no need for excessive words or flowery language (or any language). The same goes for overly long sentences, too much technical jargon, or a tone that is too formal or informal.
Remember: If someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying in three sentences, they won’t get it after five paragraphs and they may lose interest before then anyway!
7. Personalize Your Approach
A press release is a formal, professional document that should be sent out to publications you want to hear from.
However, you want them to take notice and remember it. Personalize your approach by including the name of the person who will be reading it (and their title) in your email signature block, headline and introduction.
If appropriate, also include this information within the body of the email itself by using “I” instead of “we” when sharing facts about yourself or referencing any personal connection to a particular publication or journalist.
Small businesses can achieve significant visibility through well-crafted press releases. Dive into our guide on how to write a press release for your small business to effectively communicate your brand’s message.
8. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Your first press release may not be a huge deal, but it’s still important to get right. Press releases are one of the most effective ways to get media attention for your business or organization, so take care with what you write and don’t give away more than you can deliver.
If there’s something in the release that isn’t true or accurate (or something that could be perceived as false), remove it immediately no matter who wrote the release or how many people have seen the draft already!
9. Learn from your mistakes.
As with any other skill, you’re going to make some mistakes. Your first press release will not be perfect, but that’s okay! If anything, it will give you valuable information about how your audience reacts to your content.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or asking for help. The more you ask for feedback and advice from others in the industry including leaders at your company the better off you’ll be when it comes time for your next press release.
When something goes wrong in your PR plan (and it will), don’t panic. Instead:
- Be humble and honest with yourself about what went wrong and how it can improve next time around
- Ask yourself if there was anything that could have been done differently that would have led to a better outcome; then use this insight as a guide moving forward
10. Use Time To Your Advantage
There is a lot of pressure in the journalism world to get the news out as quickly as possible. In the age of social media and instant content, journalists know that if they don’t break a story first, someone else will.
If you have an important announcement on your hands, try to get it into the news cycle at least one day before your announcement date so that reporters can plan ahead and hopefully cover it!
This can be tricky because some editors need more time than others before they’re ready with their stories (think 48 hours), but if you do everything else right, this shouldn’t be difficult at all.
Transform your press releases into powerful tools for media coverage and exposure. Discover the strategies to maximize your reach in our article on how to get press coverage with a press release.
11. Networking Is Key, So Don’t Be Afraid To Make Friends With Reporters And Editors
Networking is a huge part of getting your story out there. If you aren’t making friends with reporters and editors, then you’re missing out on the best way to get what you want.
To make friends with them, it’s important to get involved in events where they are present. This will help you meet people that can help spread your message further than just talking directly with them on social media or emailing them an article pitch now and again.
12. Know When Not To Pitch And When To Give Up On A Story
Now that you know how to pitch your story, here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not a story is worth pitching.
Is it too big? If the story is so big that it’s hard to explain, you should give up on it. A good rule of thumb is if your readers won’t care about your story, then neither will the media.
Is it too small? If the topic is just too small and isn’t going to interest a lot of people (i.e., “I hate cats”) then don’t waste everyone’s time with this story!
Is it too slow? If the pace of events happening in this topic isn’t fast enough (i.e., someone getting married), then don’t bother pitching because most media outlets will pass over this kind of thing unless they’re looking for filler content during slower news cycles.*
13. The Headline Can Make Or Break The Story For The Editor
The headline is the first thing an editor sees, so you must make a good impression. If your headline doesn’t grab their attention, they won’t read on.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t explain what your article is about in one sentence or less, then your headline probably needs work.
A catchy headline should be short and to the point; use keywords that readers will search for when looking for information on your topic but avoid those big buzzwords that are overused these days (e.g., “game changer”).
Your final step here is finding out whether or not you want to include a subtitle underneath the main title (and if so, how long). If there’s room for both headlines in this section without looking overcrowded or messy, go ahead!
But if there isn’t enough space left after writing out everything else (which often happens), don’t feel bad about leaving off anything extraneous like subheads they’re nice additions but aren’t necessary
14. Know What Appeals To The Media That You Want To Target
The next step is to know what kind of stories the media you want to target likes, hates, and will never cover. A lot of this information can be found in the newsroom’s submission guidelines. If they don’t have a submission guideline on their website, it’s probably best that you don’t pitch them anything.
You should also know what type of stories the media you want to target covers because this will allow you to create a pitch that appeals directly to their audience. For example, if I’m pitching my story about how kids are eating too much sugar at breakfast and it’s making them hyperactive during school hours (and eventually causing major health problems).
I wouldn’t expect an environmental newspaper like Earth First! (which focuses more on environmental concerns) would care much about my story since there isn’t an environmental angle here.
If you’re looking to get started with your first press release, we hope this article has been helpful. Whether it’s a big event or just another day in the life of your business, we believe that sharing information with the world is always a good thing. Contact us today if you have any questions about how to write an effective press release!
Explore more resources on writing effective press releases and surviving your first one:
The Guardian – How to Write a Press Release Short Description: Gain insights from The Guardian’s guide on crafting compelling press releases that capture attention.
HubSpot Blog – Press Release Template Short Description: HubSpot offers a press release template and valuable tips to enhance your press release writing process.
MarkGrowth Blog – Surviving Your First Press Release Short Description: MarkGrowth provides startup-focused advice to successfully navigate and survive your initial press release.
How do I write a press release that stands out?
Crafting a standout press release involves a clear and compelling headline, concise messaging, relevant details, and a strong call to action.
What should I include in my press release template?
A press release template should include essential elements such as a catchy headline, dateline, lead paragraph, body content, boilerplate, and media contact information.
How can startups ensure the success of their first press release?
Startups can ensure press release success by identifying a newsworthy angle, targeting the right media outlets, crafting a captivating story, and engaging with relevant communities.
What are some common mistakes to avoid in press release writing?
Avoid common mistakes like excessive jargon, neglecting proofreading, lack of a clear news hook, and failing to tailor the press release to the target audience.
How can I maximize the impact of my press release for my small business?
To maximize press release impact for a small business, focus on a compelling narrative, targeted distribution, multimedia elements, and effective follow-up with media contacts.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.