Writing a press release seems easy enough. You have a news item you want to get across to the media, so you give a quick summary and send it off. That’s how it goes, right? Well, sort of.
I’d argue that press release writing is simultaneously one of the easiest and one of the hardest types of writing. Here’s what I mean:
- The easy—They’re concise. No time for fluff. You get right to the point. Get in and get out. No need to be a BS master or craft brilliant metaphors here.
- The difficult—No BS. Yes, I realize that’s also what makes them easy to write. But you have to make sure you write them in a no nonsense way that follows all the rules, or else no reporter will give it the time of day.
A common thread you’ll see is the No BS talk. Why? Well, normal readers often have time for a bit of it. They will listen to your little lead up stories and your opinions and your analogies. However, reporters have no time or patience for it. They want to see:
- That there’s something they can craft into a legit story
- The outline for the story
- The hard facts
And they want to see all of that without having to search for it. If they have to search…well, they won’t.
Sticking to the Facts
By sticking to the facts as you write, you’ll accomplish all the other things I talk about. There’s no room for BS when you are only providing hard data. And your press release certainly won’t drag on if that’s what you’re offering.
While this makes the press release shorter, it doesn’t always make it easier to write. Why? Because you have to work hard to dig up the right facts to support your story.
For example, say you are making a claim about increased sales for the quarter, hoping to attract new investors. Well, simply claiming it and gushing over yourself won’t turn heads. But if you provide sales figures from previous periods coupled with this quarter, well then you have solid proof—and suddenly your claim is more compelling than ever.
Remember, Opinions Are Like…
This isn’t your blog. Reporters don’t want to read how awesome you think your sales quarter was. Or how great your new product is. Those are all personal biased opinions. Of course you think your new product is great. You’re trying to sell it. Instead, maybe give hard facts on what the product can do that others can’t. Or perhaps give quantitative data from a study you did that shows how this product is going to change a particular industry. See the difference?
Don’t Forget the Quotes
When you can provide quotes, do so. Here you can be a little bit more lenient with the opinions, as they are more personal. However, still be careful that the quotes continue with the overall story. Don’t just add a flowery quote for the sake of doing so.
For the Love of God, Don’t Forget to Fact Check
Of course, adding facts can also turn around and bite you in the rear…should those facts turn out to be wrong. That being said, please don’t forget to fact check. Nothing will make you look like more of an ass than for a reporter to call you out on bogus claims. Or worse yet—for the story to run only for there to be an online backlash about your bogus claims. Talk about damage to your brand!
Are you packing your press release with hard facts? Share any tips you may have!
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/beginnersguide.html