A press release serves as the perfect way to promote and publicize a news item, whether it’s an event, a product release, a website launch, a milestone or another significant happening or announcement.
But news outlets and large websites receive dozens — even hundreds — of press releases each day. How can you make your press release ‘pop’ and stand out from the crowd? Consider the following tips and tricks for writing a press release that pops!
Write a Strong Lead
The lead — that is, the first paragraph of the press release — should be strong. It should provide the ‘nut’ of the story; the who, what, when, where, how and why of the information that you’re presenting.
A strong lead engages the reader, leaving them hungry to learn more. If the lead is weak and non-compelling, then there’s a good chance that people won’t read beyond that first paragraph.
Focus on the News Angle
The most effective press releases focus on the news angle; the current element of the story that you’re presenting. Background information can also be included to provide context, but this info is generally presented in the latter third of the release.
It’s best to use an inverted pyramid format when writing a press release. Begin with the most important information and present facts and the info in descending order of importance.
Include Visuals With Your Press Release
Remember that old adage, ‘A picture is worth 1,000 words’? Well, that’s very true when it comes to a press release. News outlets and websites alike are more apt to publish a press release when there’s a photo available.
In some cases, if there is video footage available, you may opt to make this available as well.
Offer Live Interviews With Your Press Release
While some news outlets and websites may publish your press release as-is, others may wish to put their own spin on the story so it’s unique. The most successful news outlets take pride in their ability to offer information that’s not found elsewhere, so make it easy for them to achieve this with your release.
For this reason, it’s wise to offer interviews with the person who’s quoted in the press release and/or a spokesperson, or the main subject involved in the event/occasion/etc. This will provide interested news outlets with an opportunity to get footage, audio or quotes that’s exclusive to that outlet.
Include a contact person’s name, e-mail address and phone number. If possible, include information on one or more individuals who are available for interviews. At the end of the release, include the person’s name, position and their contact information. Alternatively, you can simply include a note with the release, such as: ‘Call Mr. X at 555-5555 to schedule interviews.’
Include Supplementary Information
To make your press release pop, include additional supplementary materials as part of a press kit. Include relevant photos, fact sheets, biographical information and other background info that helps to paint the picture. This makes it easier for news outlets, websites and publications to utilize the information you’ve provided.
Call to Follow Up on Your Press Release
If you send your press release to local news outlets, pick up the phone and call to follow up on your submission. You may opt to confirm that they’ve received your press release and also remember to offer a reminder that you have one or more people available for interviews.
In addition, to posting your press release on sites such as PR NewsWire, it’s wise to send your press release directly to local news outlets and local websites that are apt to be interested in your release. Local news outlets are more likely to publish or air the story thanks to the local connection. It’s wise to send your press release mid-week on Wednesday or Thursday, as producers often look for material to publish or air on the weekends, when news is slow.
With these tips and tricks to make your press release pop, you should have no problem getting your news item aired or published.