10 Tips for Writing a Great Press Release
If you’re serious about branding your company and getting your business out there, then creating press releases is one way to promote the work you are doing.
Many small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a PR agency to do the heavy lifting, so that means you’ll need to do it internally. Here are some tips to make your press releases look professionally done and get your stories picked up by the media.
- Create a good headline. You have just a few words to get the attention of a journalist, so make them shine. It should be accurate and engaging to read. Also, put that eye-catching headline in the email subject as well to help increase your chances of getting someone to open it.
- Put the most important information first. Most people will only read the first paragraph and if it’s compelling they may scan farther, but don’t count on it. Put the most important information in the top paragraph (i.e., the basics of who, what, when, where, and why). Get inspiration from the newspaper for examples of great first lines.
- Check your grammar. A journalist will toss out the press release if they can’t get through it without hitting typos or errors. It will make you look careless and a reporter won’t take you seriously. Send it to a few people first for proofreading.
- Make it timely. If the area just had a huge hailstorm, put out a release that is related. Think about the season, but also what is newsworthy. The media is more likely to use your story if it’s connected to what is going on in the news.
- Add a quote. That puts a human face to your story and can make it even more compelling, but make sure the quote provides insight, not facts. It should also sound conversational.
- Use strong language. Write in the active voice, so instead of saying, “The storm was damaging to homes.” Say, “The storm damaged many homes in the area.” It makes a stronger statement. Also, add some statistics if you have them to make it even more impactful (but be sure that you can provide the source for those stats – or they will not be believable).
- Don’t make it too long. It should be one or two pages (double spaced) max. It needs to answer the basic who, what, when, where, why, and how. Don’t add any extra fluff.
- Provide just the facts. Leave the hype to the journalist; your job is to provide the information and angle and hope they will use it for an upcoming story.
- Include your contact information. Don’t forget to provide a way for journalists to reach you. Also, include your website so a reporter can research for more information.
- End with boilerplate information. Include a paragraph at the end of the release about your company such as when it was founded, awards you have received, or anything else that’s noteworthy. Also, include your logo so you can increase your brand recognition.
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