8 Signs You Need to Improve Your Press Release Writing

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Over 70% of journalists look for press releases as their primary source when looking for information about a brand. A well-written, relevant press release can help boost your brand. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to properly write a press release.

In fact, over 65% of journalists believe audience metrics have changed how they evaluate stories, too. Journalists are looking to PR professionals for content. Professional press release writing can ensure more journalists choose your press release.

Otherwise, it could remain at the bottom of the pile.

Is no one picking up your press release? Here are eight signs your press releases need improvement.

Avoiding these eight mistakes can help you create more effective press releases. You’ll have an easier time when you distribute press releases as a result.

Start writing press releases journalists want to publish with these tips today. 

1. The Release Lacks a Purpose

Nearly 80% of content marketers incorporate press releases into their content marketing strategy. It’s not enough to start writing press releases for your business, though. Instead, you need a plan before you start working on your press release writing. 

If your press releases lack purpose, you might struggle to keep the reader’s attention. Journalists might not pick up your press release, either. Instead, they’ll toss your release into the trash bin.

First, take a moment to consider your target audience. What do they care about?

Choose a press release topic that’s relevant to your target audience and the publication.

Otherwise, the publication won’t pick up a release they think won’t provide their readers with value. If they do publish the release, your target audience might not care.

Before you start writing press releases, ask yourself:

  • What is the press release about?
  • What value am I offering potential investors and customers?
  • Will a journalist understand the gist within the first paragraph?
  • Will people care about what I’m saying?
  • What buzzwords do I need to avoid?
  • Is it clear who is involved?
  • What message am I trying to convey?

Consider the five W’s when outlining your press release: who, what, when, where, why. Then, answer those questions before going into more detail.

Maybe you want to announce an upcoming event. Perhaps you want to build a buzz for a new product. Either way, know what you’re trying to say before you start writing.

Otherwise, your press release could lack focus, confusing readers.

2. The Headline Doesn’t Grab Your Attention

Once you finish writing the first draft of your press release, have someone read it. Does the headline grab their attention? If not, you need to improve your press release writing.

Journalists skim-read hundreds of press releases every single day. They only choose a few from the bunch. If the headline doesn’t grab their attention, they might not read the rest of what you wrote.

You’ll struggle to distribute press releases if journalists never read beyond the first line.

Instead, you need to create compelling, engaging headlines that can grab the reader’s attention. 

To develop a powerful headline, try to:

  • Specify the details
  • Remain direct yet easy to understand
  • Use an active voice
  • Use 10 words or less
  • Have a news angle (focused on something innovative, impactful, or disruptive)
  • Avoid using hyperbole
  • Avoid writing in blog style
  • Avoid using brand names
  • Mirror the editorial style of the publication you’re pitching to

Try to optimize the headline for search engines, too. What questions are your readers asking? What words do they use in a search?

Considering their search terms will help you create a headline that’s relevant to their interests. 

A captivating headline will convince journalists and readers your story is worth reading. It should also summarize your content. 

It can take practice to create a compelling headline. Consider working with a press release writing agency. They can save you valuable time.

With their help, you can ensure journalists don’t toss your press releases out. 

3. You’ve Buried the Lede

Journalists will ask themselves “why should my readers care?” when they look at your press release. It’s important to make sure your press release writing is newsworthy. Otherwise, the press release could end up in the trash.

Most businesses write press releases to:

  • Talk about an upcoming or recent event
  • Launch a new product or service
  • Announce a merger or acquisition

Readers, however, are focused on hearing about something new and exciting. Most want solutions to their problems and answers to their questions.

When writing your press release, it’s important not to bury the lede. The lede will focus on the most important details within your release. Focusing on those details from the start will help readers understand the value you’re offering.

When writing press releases, ask yourself:

  • What is happening
  • Who is involved
  • Where it’s happening
  • Why it matters
  • When it’s happening

Then, include these details within your opening paragraph.

Cut out the fluff. Focus on essential details. Once you write your lede paragraph, try to trim out the fat.

A strong lede paragraph will keep readers engaged and interested in reading more. 

4. You’ve Used the Wrong Format

Before you try to distribute press releases, consider your formatting. Journalists might toss out your press release if the format is wrong. 

Writing press releases is an art. Proper press release writing styles include:

  • The words “For Immediate Release”
  • Your contact information in the top right-hand corner
  • The headline in all caps, bolded
  • An italicized sub-header underneath the headline
  • Your city, state, and the month before the opening paragraph
  • The lede paragraph
  • The body text
  • The boilerplate (which includes relevant information about your business)
  • An end notation (usually “###”)
  • Any final notes about contacting you for more information

Consider the length of press releases, too. Your press release shouldn’t exceed a page.

Remember to trim out the fluff before you send your press release to a publication. 

5. There Aren’t Quotes

Adding a strong quote to your press release can give it credibility. The quote you choose should add to the press release. Remember, you want to avoid fluff at all costs.

Try to speak with a key figure at your business. For example, you might speak with a project leader, executive, or investor.

Their quote should give your press release a personal perspective. If it doesn’t add value to the press release, cut it out.

Limit yourself to one or two quotes from high-level individuals at your business. 

Read the quote aloud. Make sure it sounds real. Don’t let the quote stretch into long sentences, either.

If the quote seems too long, try to edit it down. 

6. You’re Missing Mixed Media

Mixed media can add value to your press release as well. In fact, many press releases that include multimedia are viewed more. Over 50% of internet users look for video content when they research products and services, too.

Try to add different types of multimedia, such as:

  • Photos
  • Graphs/charts
  • Videos
  • Infographics

Make sure the multimedia you choose adds value to the press release. It should appear relevant to the press release’s purpose, too. 

Avoid stock photography, which can make your brand look ingenuine.

Multimedia will help break large blocks of text apart. It can help you boost social shares, too. Multimedia can help you engage your readers and maintain their attention.

7. It’s Not Clear or Concise

Remember, journalists tend to skim-read press releases. If the content isn’t clear or concise, you could lose their attention. Before you send your press release to publications, cut the fluff.

If it doesn’t add value to the story, you don’t need to include it. 

Dedicate time to editing your press release, too. If you don’t proofread your press release, journalists might toss it out.

Look for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and inaccurate information. Have someone else read your press release as well. 

These mistakes could impact your credibility. 

After writing your first draft, set your press release aside for a few hours. Come back to it with fresh eyes. Then, give it another read.

Proofreading will help improve your press release writing over time. You can avoid making the same mistakes. Instead of looking clumsy and amateurish, you can create professional-sounding content. 

8. The Boilerplate is Missing

Don’t forget to consider your formatting before sending your press release to publications. One key component of the format is your boilerplate information. 

The boilerplate will provide readers with information about your business. You can go into your history a little. Make sure the boilerplate is clear and concise.

Include your website as well.

Adding background information can help people better understand your brand.

Don’t forget to end your press release with your contact information and “###.” The closing notation tells journalists the press release is over.

Write It Right: 8 Signs Your Press Release Writing is Lacking

Stop making these costly mistakes with your press release writing. Instead, develop more professional press release writing styles. With these tips, you can start writing press releases journalists want to publish.

Then, you can distribute press releases more often, allowing you to reach a broader audience!

Need help improving your press release writing? We’re here to help.

Explore our pricing today to get started. 

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