The golden rules when writing a press release
Reading time: 2 minute(s).
With the potential to reach readers worldwide in an instant, some might say the humble press release is more important now than ever. Unfortunately, the majority are unlikely to travel any further than an editor’s email bin.
So just how do you make your work of PR art stand out from the competition and catch a reporter’s eye? The trick is finding the best, and most far-reaching line, then making it pop. Here are some top tips to boost your chances of success, as well as examples of press releases and headlines which were huge in 2022.
Ace your intro and headline when writing a press release
Thanks to ever-shrinking newsrooms, journalists no longer have time to wade through masses of dull press releases. Or read each one critically.
So a good press release should have a punchy, compelling headline and intro which explains the story in a nutshell, or it’s likely to be ignored.
The BBC’s headline – Elon Musk takes control of Twitter in $44bn deal, was concise, SEO friendly and void of anything frilly or “techy”. If you know your news is going to make waves, it’s usually best to keep it simple and straight to the point.
That’s not to say you can’t be creative – an intriguing headline can also work. But always avoid too much punctuation – and ditch those exclamation marks!!!
Make life easier for editors when writing a press release
If you can provide videos and photos, you are going to save a newsroom a lot of time and effort. And it will get your story out quicker.
Try not to fill copy with graphics, expecting the reporter to work out the stats. They’re unlikely to bother unless it’s a very slow news day.
A good example of an attractive press package would be a weight loss club sharing news of a member’s dramatic transformation, with before and after pics. Readers go mad for them so it’s worth a little extra effort.
And don’t forget links to other success stories.
Find the best human interest angle when writing a press release
Promoting your business is obviously important. But over-focus on the brand in the first few pars of your press release with the most newsworthy line hidden deep down in the copy, and it’s likely to be spiked.
Sometimes it’s best to swallow your pride and be happy with a mention of the brand name in the second or third par.
In this headline from Cision PR Newswire – Golden Retriever Poisoned by Thanksgiving Bread Rolls, notice how the brand Pet Poison Helpline isn’t immediately mentioned. But the headline would leap out at dog owners around the world.
A cute photo of Pippa the dog, who thankfully pulled through if you’re concerned, is also an obvious pull.
What are people talking about?
Stay ahead of the trends which affect your target audiences most. Take advantage of them to fit your news angle and make sure you include key words high in your headlines and intro.
This US press release: Are you ready to Shake, Shiver, and Shovel? Farmers’ Almanac Releases an Extreme Winter Forecast was among the top ten on Cision’s PR Newswire in 2022.
The rather alarming headline is followed by predictions of “significant shivers” in the northeast and even a “hibernation zone” in the northern prairies.
While the UK has yet to see such extreme reactions, anything to do with the weather usually does well in news. If it also mentions the cost-of-living crisis, you have yourself the perfect storm. So to speak.