Copywriters and PR personnel are often confused when they write a lengthy press release and send it to multiple journalists, only to find that their story is completely overlooked. Usually, this does not happen because the news being released is unnewsworthy, but rather the press release is not written in a way that grabs the attention of readers, especially a professional journalist.
There are various ways to improve your press releases, and lucky for you, we have gathered some top-notch tips from the experts for you to follow.
1- Understand What a Press Release Is
Before going into the different tips that you need to take into consideration when writing a press release, it is necessary to understand why press releases are so important. Basically, a press release is a heads-up for journalists that there is a story that they may be interested in covering in the news outlet that they work for. Journalists get a considerable amount of press releases daily, so you need to be sure that yours is going to be recognized and is going to hold the journalist’s interest rather than being passed over for another story.
2- Sum Up Your Purpose in the First Paragraph
The first thing that a press release has to do is sum up the idea in the first paragraph, which is the introduction. Journalists do not read entire press releases, especially if a press release does not grab their attention at first glance. Experts at https://www.ereleases.com/press-release-template/ state that you need to create a great hook to reel in readers. As mentioned above, journalists have to go through multiple press releases a day, so you can help them by simply mentioning the most important points of your story in the introduction, then you can proceed with other details in the following paragraphs. Admittedly, if you are not a writer, it might be difficult, to sum up, your ideas in the introduction while making it strong and attention-grabbing. This is why having a news release template on hand can be very beneficial. You can find many templates online to help you format your press release.
3- Find the Perfect Heading
If your heading does not catch the eye of the reader, then chances are your press release will immediately find itself in the recycle bin. At first glance, your reader should have their interest peaked. This can be done by coming up with a strong headline for your story. When creating a headline, it is important to make it less about you and more about a topic that is interesting while still being relevant to the story you are proposing. Different aspects help make your readers focus on your writing, for example, adding a number to your heading, giving the reader a sense of urgency by using action verbs, and using adjectives that appeal to their senses.
4- Add Quotes
Adding quotes given by relevant people can be very beneficial, and it saves a journalist some time if the quotes are particularly important to the story. Quotes can be given by those who are involved in the story, as well as third parties that can validate the story and make it more newsworthy. Journalists like a good quote, so if you play it right, you will find your story featured in your targeted news outlet quickly.
5- Mention the Relevance of Your News to Current Events and Readers
While you might have a great story on your hands, you can make others more invested in it by tying it to recent or current events. You also need to make the entire press release relatable. Start by asking yourself questions like: Why is this interesting? How can this affect others? When did this idea originate? Having clear answers to each of these questions will help you write a relevant and relatable press release in no time.
6- Short PR Releases Can Actually Be Better
Less wordiness is always important when it comes to press releases. As mentioned before, most journalists do not even go through the entire release, and this is also true for other readers. The more concise your press release is, the faster a reader can skim through it, which means the more likely they are to read. If it is too lengthy, not only are they going to get bored while reading, but they might also skip it altogether because it appears too long.
7- Use Visuals
Visuals are a great method to use if you want to display the story to the reader. Visuals can range from pictures and videos, if possible, to graphs and charts that help the readers visualize how the numbers and statistics you mentioned in the release are relevant. Nowadays, press releases are sent by email, which means you can include videos and different multimedia to grab a journalist’s interest and make them read the press release. If you are going to include a picture, you need to be sure that it is going to capture the attention of the reader and of course emphasize the points that are going to be covered in the release.
8- Edit and Proofread Before Sending
It is quite frustrating for journalists to go through press releases that have multiple spelling and grammatical errors. Not only are they going to waste extra time reading it if it is laden with mistakes but it also means that they have to edit it themselves if they plan on using the story and publishing it. After writing the release, leave it for a couple of hours and then read over your work again. This gives you a fresh perspective and allows you to spot mistakes that you may have missed the first time around.
9- Provide Up to Date Contact Information
If you have written a perfect press release but did not include proper contact information, then it is a waste of time and effort. Journalists need to be able to get in touch with you so that they can get more detailed information about the news as soon as possible. This means that you need to check whether the information listed is up-to-date or needs to be changed.
By using these eight pro tips, you are going to easily capture the attention of multiple journalists and your event will get the publicity it deserves. Even though these seem quite simple and unnecessary, these different tips are factors that affect your chances of getting your news covered by a news outlet. Following these tips is going to require some practice, but they are well worth it.