In life there are two kinds of people: those who start things only to walk away, and those who finish what they began. And when it comes to writing a press release (or any form of copy, for that matter), it’s easy to get lumped in that first group. Why? Because when you sit down to write a press release, you have a good idea of what it’s going to be about, so getting started is easy. However, once you’re a paragraph or two in, it’s also easy to hit that wall and wonder how in the world you’re going to finish things up.
Looking for help, I started Googling around to see what sort of advice the “experts” on the internet give on finishing up your press release and I found something interesting. There’s very little advice at all. Oh, there’s plenty to say about how to start with your catchy title, your subhead, and your hook. Which makes sense, I suppose, since priority is getting the reporter’s attention so he’ll even consider reporting on your event.
However, simply getting them to read the first line is not enough. If a reporter likes your release, he’s going to continue reading through to get more info. He’s going to want there to be enough info to spin it into an article without much work, and he’s going to want to know how to get in touch with you quickly.
That means you need to know how to finish out your release.
Sum Up your Message
All types of non-fiction writing share one thing in common. Toward the end, you need to sum up the main points of your message so that the reader walks away with a good overall idea of what he’s just read. Such is the case with a press release. If Reporter Jane Doe reads through your entire release, but gets bogged down in the details half way through and you don’t provide a nice summary toward the end, she may get frustrated and decide that your story doesn’t really make sense. However, if you sum up the main points at the end, it helps her to recollect the important info and increase the odds that she’s going to give you coverage.
It’s Not Ad Copy, So Do I Put a Call to Action?
In short, yes. But don’t get to pitchy here. Remember, for the most part, a press release is written in third person. However, at the end, you want to provide the reporter with a means to contact you. So at this point, it’s okay to address them directly in one sentence. Something like, “For more information or to obtain an interview with Company X, call 555-5555 or visit www.companyname.com.”
Notice, I didn’t say “Use this release to create a compelling story. Contact us now!” My call to action was mild, giving just the right nudge and the necessary contact info.
What’s a Boiler Plate?
An old newspaper term for something used over and over. In this case, it’s information about your company. Remember, they might not know anything about you. The reporter will also probably want to include general information about your company in the article they put together. So in this section you just tell a bit of historical info about your company. It’s okay to use the same block of text over and over in your press releases.
Have trouble ending your releases? What advice can you give?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html