When sending in a press release, remember you’ve only got a handful of words in the subject line to grab journalists’ attention. Keep it as interesting as possible and short enough for a twitter update including the link.
The title of your press release is the first thing a journalist will see, so make it captivating and relevant to your story. Be creative; make your title something that will encourage the journalist to keep reading. Avoid lengthy, detailed titles that waver on, short and sweet should be your motto.
Keep your press releases brief, about 250 words (one page) should be enough to say it all. If you’ve done your 250 words and still have more to say then add a link to the bottom, directing the reader to the relevant information.
Always write in the third person, not saying ‘I’ or ‘we’ unless quoting. It’s vital you use proper punctuation and grammar throughout. Journalists are busy people; if you make their job easier by providing ‘ready to publish’ copy they’re more likely to want to publish your stories again in the future.
A good tip is to write your copy on MS word or a similar product first, go have a cup of coffee and then comeback and read it again with fresh eyes. You are more likely to notice that missing ‘a’ or that auto-correct error.
It’s important to be objective and avoid being too salesy. Keep your language simple and avoid over using jargon and buzz words, or it will turn reader off rather than intrigue. Look at your story from the journalist’s perspective and only include information readers will find interesting, stimulating or useful.
Use the introductory paragraph to sum up the story in under 100 words. Stick to the facts. Explain who you are, what you’re announcing, where it’s taking place, when it’s happening and possibly why and how it’s happening. These questions communicate the most important facts to the reader. When writing, imagine as a journalist, you have to dredge through hundreds of these a day – so keep all the relevant information easy to find at the top.
At the foot of the release is where you can include any background information that you were dyeing to say in the into paragraph. Include a little bio and a few interesting tidbits like your passions and inspirations to add some personality. Also, don’t forget to include important contact information and a link to your website so that the journalist can find you.
Last but not least, always include a few images with your press release. Make sure they are relevant and linked to the appropriate items mentioned in text so that journalists can easily find them. A good idea is to link them in a way that will allow the images to open in a new window to allow ease of access for the journalist.
So, when writing you next press release, try following these guidelines and remember practice makes perfect!