We have years of experience securing fantastic coverage for our clients – whether it’s in trade magazines or national and broadcast media.
Here are our top tips for writing the perfect press release.
It has to contain news
Having something new to say is the most important thing when it comes to writing a press release. It can’t just be news, for a news story’s sake!
If a client doesn’t have any news of their own, we will do our own research to find potential news angles that are relevant and original to our client’s sector.
Before drafting any press releases for a client though, we do thorough research into the potential angle. This is to ensure that the angle hasn’t already been covered by the media.
The topline is important
From our experience, we know that journalists are very busy people who receive hundreds of emails from PRs every day. As a result, we know we have to grab their attention straight away – this is why creating an attention-grabbing topline or ‘hook’ is the most important part of a press release.
We ensure that our hook is located in plain sight, in the very first line of the press release. If there are several key points we want to get across in our pitch, we place them in bullet points at the top of the press release.
Variations of the same press release
We don’t just draft one press release and hope mud sticks. Each journalist and media title has different priorities and a distinct audience.
As a result, we might need to create different versions of the same press release and adapt the angle depending on who we’re pitching to. This is particularly evident if a news story has a political angle.
It has to be readable
As we mentioned earlier, journalists get sent an endless amount of news stories. Getting them to read past the topline is a great achievement in itself.
Although the topline is important, the rest of the press release has to be three things – attention grabbing, interesting and relevant. This is so we can retain the journalist’s attention and highlight clearly why the story is relevant to them and newsworthy for their audience.
To ensure our press releases grab the journalist’s attention, we step outside of our client’s bubble and put ourselves in the journalist’s shoes. We also imagine reading the story as the media title’s audience.
Some of the factors we consider include:
- The use of technical jargon – a big no-no. Instead, we use straight-forward language that can be understood by everybody
- The impact on the publication’s audience? It has to make the audience care enough that it has an impact or makes them think about they day-to-day lives
- Is there too much detail? Will the audience take the time to read every single word of the news story. If not, we’ll strip the release back to make it as concise and to the point as possible
- Are we over embellishing our client? We know our client is fantastic in their field, but when it comes to grabbing the attention of both a journalist and the audience, we need to make sure we don’t overdo it with words which may be considered as cliches
Ready-made news story
The media landscape has changed a lot in recent years. We’ve seen a reduction in specialist journalists replaced with job titles that combine a range of areas, for example ‘multimedia’ and ‘consumer’. As a result of the short time that journalists have to write stories, to give us the best chance of securing coverage, we have to ensure our news stories are packaged up and ready to go.
We always aim to support this through the use of a range of media types, such as relevant images and bespoke infographics.
Video is also becoming more coveted for journalists. One reason is due to the fact that many people simply don’t have the time or patience to read a full news story, and may even only skim-read at best. The benefit of a video is it is not only more likely to grab a viewer’s attention, but is also able to translate across platforms, such as social media.
Lead with the news, not the client
We understand that you may want your brand name to be at the very beginning of a press release – it’s your news afterall. However, this can be off-putting for some journalists.
We’ve found it’s best to let the news speak for itself, and the brand play a supportive role. If we push the brand too heavily throughout the press release, it comes across as too focused on the client, and can overshadow the news.
Are you looking for an integrated agency who can support you with your PR activity? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 850 0565.