A press release that appeals to journalists and editors should always be a key aspect of your organisation’s public relations strategy.
The modern era of digitally led communications means the conversation with your audience, with your clients and customers, is continuous, but the power of the perfect press/news release endures.
Crafting that professional and attention-grabbing press release, one that will pique the interest of a journalist or editor, requires skill and considerable knowhow.
At Grofuse we have the expertise to do just that and would like to share some of our knowledge with you.
We know how to tell your story in a way that ensures it stands out and gains the media coverage it deserves.
Here’s our quick guide to writing the perfect press/news release.
A press release must have news value
This is rule number one – ensure your story is newsworthy. To get noticed, you’ve got to make a journalists news sense tingle.
Ask yourself ‘does what I have to say have news value?’
Reporters are adept at deciphering information in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. They’ll want to see what’s relevant to their audience, what’s new about your story, or unusual or unexpected. Ultimately they will be asking ‘why should anyone care about this story?’ Make sure your press release displays the value of your story.
Never take too long to get to the core message of your story.
With headlines you need to reflect exactly what news your press release details. There’s no need to be overly clever, much better to instead be direct and offer immediate clarity. If your company is announcing 100 new jobs say exactly that! Don’t hide the news behind phrases like ‘jobs boost’ or ‘good news’ for local company.
Journalists thrive on a good top line – your intro is the key aspect of the press release.
As concisely as possible, it should sum up the main thrust of the story. As the press release progresses it is vital to cover the ‘who, what, why, where, when and how’ of your story.
Think no more than 23 words in that first sentence and you’re thinking like a journalist.
Never over write a press release, keep to a 280-300 word maximum.
There are few things journalists hate more than waffle – always use plain language
You can include a ‘Notes to Editor’ section as a footnote that will let you expand on background and additional information. Always keep your copy clean. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes will be viewed in a dim light and may consign your work to the trash.
Provide a human element to your story by adding a quote from someone in your organisation – the best option is to utilise the person best qualified to speak on the subject matter. The quotes you include should offer insight and opinion rather than regurgitate what has already been said.
We live in a visual world and a great picture, one which perfectly illustrates your story adds to the sense of personalisation. Ensure the photo is relevant and of high quality. Be sure to include a caption detailing with the names of those in the picture.
More info/notes to editors
We’ve already mentioned briefly that a ‘Note to editors’ section as a footnote is always worthwhile. A journalist will often use what’s found here as a complement to the news story detailed in the press release and what you include here can often also encourage a more in-depth feature or follow-up stories. Always include some company contact information and state who is available for further interview.
With the hard work done, be sure not to undo it. Here’s some do’s and don’ts
- Don’t muddy the clarity of communication in your email to reporters – use the headline again as the subject line in your email if it’s appropriate.
- Don’t use huge fonts or multi colours. They do not add news value but rather diminish your message. This is not the time to be clever.
- Paste the release into the body of an email rather than include as solely an attachment. This will make sure the important content is seen as quickly as possible.
At Grofuse we help develop public relations, social media, content and digital marketing strategies that best suit your business goals. Contact us today and start a conversation focussed on conversions.