Part 1 of 2 in a series
When it comes to writing a press release for your business, you should understand what it requires for an editor, reporter, or any journalist to even want to read what you send them. Keep in mind a press release is a way to introduce your business/product or service to the media. If there is interest, the release could turn into a story, or be published. Before I get into the heart of powerful press release writing, let me make a few points very clear.
- There isn’t a “secret” formula to writing a press release. It’s knowing and using the 5 Ws in your releases: What. Who. Where. When. Why.
- A press release is NOT an advertisement. Keep away from “selling” your product or service. Don’t write a release the same as you would an ad. Your release is going to the media, not potential or existing customers.
- Releases are NOT articles. Look at articles in your trade and consumer media. These are not press releases, but stories.
No two businesses are the same, and this is also true of press releases. The only formula that applies is having a headline, dateline, opening paragraph, body paragraphs, boilerplate and contact information.
Do’s and Don’ts
The news media has a list of do’s and don’ts when receiving press releases:
Make sure it is newsworthy. Examples are:
- announcing a new product or service
- working with a charity
- making a charitable contribution
- starting as new division or acquiring another company
- releasing a study about your industry and how it affects your business
- sponsoring an event, or having a grand opening
- taking your company public, or announcing stock offerings
- rebranding or reorganizing your company
- hiring a new executive
- hosting a seminar
- opening a new office or relocating your headquarters
These are just a few of the types of releases considered by the media to be newsworthy. Read and study other published releases, not all of them are good, but it will help you understand what that specific publication considers to be newsworthy.
- Limit the use of adjectives and adverbs. Stay away from adjectives such as “exciting”, “fabulous”, or “revolutionary” to mention a few. Using adverbs like “really”, “extremely”, or “very” do not enhance the release, but will get it tossed.
- Don’t use exclamation marks.
- When making a statement or an opinion, be sure to support it.
Providing facts or referring to other studies or experts, it will give the release credibility.
- Write your release to match the audience. If you’re announcing a new product make sure it is sent to media specific to that industry. It’s ok to modify the release to apply to different industries.
In Part 2 we will discuss catchy headlines, the best day of the week to distribute a release, how to make your release SEO ready, and how to rank high using keywords and phrases.