02 Feb Crafting the Ideal Press Release
When your business or nonprofit is preparing for an upcoming event or has important news to share, a press release is an effective way to communicate information to the public. A press release allows you or your organization to communicate directly with the community, show your perspective on events or recent developments, and gain publicity for your cause.
When submitting a press release to local media representatives, it’s important the article is well-written, concise, and includes the most key information. Let’s take a look at the ingredients necessary to deliver a good press release.
Create a Catchy Headline
It’s important to remember the media is the gatekeeper of press releases and determines what gets published and shared with the community. If it’s not interesting to them, they assume it won’t be interesting to their readers. A headline that pops is an excellent opportunity to entice a journalist to keep reading!
To make a good first impression, make your headline catchy as well as informative. Be clear about why your press release is important and relevant to your audience. Action verbs and creative adjectives make your headline attractive and provide a sense of urgency to your audience.
Make it Brief!
With unlimited news sources available 24/7, audiences seek short, clear and concise content. As a general rule, a press release should be no more than a single page and be between 300 and 500 words. Be sure to get to the point right away to avoid losing the reader’s interest and to ensure you have room to include the relevant information.
This can be a challenge, as you may have a lot you want to share! Here’s a helpful tip: Include links to your website or event page so interested readers can learn more about your cause.
Address the Five W’s
To ensure the reader receives the most key information, be sure your press release answers the five “W” questions:
Who? – Clarify who is making the announcement and who is the intended audience.
What? – Summarize the important news or event being announced.
When? – Explain if the news or event already happened, is effective immediately, or is on a specific upcoming date or period of time.
Where? – If applicable, make clear where the event took place or will take place.
Why? – Express the significance of why this happened or will happen.
Use quotes from your organizations senior executives, community leaders, satisfied customers or industry experts to give your news credibility. Inserting valuable opinions adds a sense of importance and urgency to your news.
Additionally, journalists rely on press releases for quotes and prefer to quote directly from your release for use in their articles. As is the overall theme in press releases, remember to keep the quotes somewhat short. Make it sound natural, but don’t exceed four sentences.
Call to Action
The “Why” is the most important of the five Ws as it is the heartbeat of the article. A press release should not be utilized as solely a bragging opportunity, but as an invitation for the reader to become educated and engaged in your cause. A strong call to action lets your audience know what they need to do next. Some good practices include:
Make your call to action (Why) separate so that it stands out from the other four Ws.
Use bold and italics to highlight certain words or phrases that make your news unique.
Include a link so your audience can contact you and learn more about your cause.
By concisely providing necessary information supplemented with relevant quotes, your press release can deliver the desired effect. Utilize the tips and tools provided above and your next press release will be better suited to get published, capture your intended audience, and properly shine the spotlight on your important announcement.