Great tips for writing a press release

YOU have a great story which you are desperate to share. You would be thrilled if it were to appear in the media.

But what is the best way to structure that story into a press release, ensuring it stands the best chance of getting an audience? And what are the essentials when it comes to facts and associated media?

At 32West we’re all for sharing the knowledge.

So here are our top five tips for press release writing. If you have a go and it’s just not working, don’t forget PR and content is what we do best - and we’d be happy to help. You can drop us an email here or call us on 01229 584119.

1 - Know your audience.

Before you even write a word, you need to establish who you are writing for and what your target platform is - print, website, social, broadcast or a combination .

Consider whether you are writing for a specialist audience or a more general one. Think about your target publication, Is it a news brand or a magazine? Is it a quality publication, or more tabloid in style? Does it typically have longer articles, or shorter, punchier reads? Is it print only or digital only?

Once you have considered the above, write a couple of sentences to condense your thoughts and keep coming back to them to ensure you stay on track.

2 - Decide on the best line for your story

What is the most exciting element of the story you have to tell? Think about it it in this way. If you were picking up the phone to excitedly share your news with a friend, what is the first thing you would say? Then think about the questions which might follow.

Here’s how the conversation might go.

You: Hi - you aren’t going to believe this. I have got the most amazing news.

Friend: Ooooh - tell me more.

You: My business has just signed a £5m deal to supply a major department store (This is your best line).

Friend: Wow. That’s amazing. How did it happen? Who brokered the deal? What department store is it? When will you start? How did the deal come about? Is this your biggest deal ever? What does it mean to the business? Will you have to take any more people on? Remind me who you do business with already.

OK - so that’s one majorly inquisitive friend you have. But you get the point. Best line first - then think what questions might follow and include that detail in your press release.

3 - Always include a quote

A good press release will always include comments from pertinent individuals. Using the example above, one would expect any press release to have a comment from the CEO/owner of the business expressing their delight. It would be a great addition to include a quote from the department store as well to add further impact.

4 - Don’t forget the basics

Heard of what, where, when, how and why? It’s because they are important ingredients to any press release. This basic information will form the backdrop of your piece. If you fail to include it, you’ll almost certainly get a call from a frustrated reporter or news editor trying to fill in the gaps. Worse still, the might simply bin your carefully crafted press release because they don’t have the time or inclination to chase things up.

5 - Consider what else you need

A press release needs to be more than words. At the very least it should be accompanied by a good quality head and shoulders shot of the main person either quoted or to whom the release relates.

Great press releases will come with professionally taken images which are commissioned specifically for the story in hand. Think also about whether it may be appropriate to add video or audio to the package you send out. Infographics are another way to lift your press release beyond the norm an make sure it grabs the attention of those it is targeted at.

There are plenty of others things to consider, but our top five tips will get you on your way.

If you need help with your PR and content strategy, we’d be delighted to help. Simply email us or give us a call on 01229 584119.