The Dos and Don’ts of Press Release Writing
When you send out a press release, you’re competing with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other press releases. How can you cut through all this clutter to separate yourself from the pack? Well, like the old saying goes, “Content is king.”
Check out these press release writing dos and don’ts so you can discover the best tips for crafting an attention-grabbing release.
Do put effort into writing a catchy headline – Make no mistake. A stinky headline can bury even the most compelling story. That’s why you need to spend the extra time to make sure your headline is as catchy and clear as possible. I recommend brainstorming several headlines so you can find the one that works best. Always remember that clarity is key. Editors and reporters need to know exactly what your story is about just by reading the headline.
Don’t write a headline that you can’t deliver on – You’re not going to trick a reporter into picking up your story. So, don’t write a deceptive headline that doesn’t accurately describe the story. Doing so will only anger the reporter and cause you to lose all credibility.
Do stick to one topic in your press release – Look, it’s understandable that you have a lot of things you want to say, but you can’t get carried away. Keep your press release as tight as possible by focusing on one main topic. Anything else that distracts from that message should be eliminated. If necessary, this extra information can be used in a separate press release.
Don’t make your press release any longer than it needs to be – Remember, editors have an inbox full of press releases that they have to go through. They’re pressed for time. So, keep your press release as short as possible. Long press releases are intimidating and just look like too much effort to read through. I recommend printing out your first draft and using a red pen to cross out any extra words or information that isn’t necessary.
Do send relevant, accurate news – Above all else, your story needs to be newsworthy. Whenever possible, tie your story to a current event or trend to make it more relevant. And speaking of relevancy, who you send your press release to is often just as important as what your press release says. Irrelevant pitches are an editor’s #1 pet peeve. So, only send your press release to the outlets that regularly cover stories like yours.
Don’t exaggerate or use marketing hype – Press releases aren’t advertisements; they’re news stories. News=accuracy, not hype or over-the-top claims. That’s one of the biggest reasons it’s recommended to hire an outside expert to write your press release, because being too close to the story can make it difficult to separate fact from marketing hype.
Don’t make silly mistakes – Finally, don’t send out a press release that has typos or other silly errors. Spend a little time proofreading the release before sending it out. To make sure all mistakes are caught, I recommend letting a few different people proofread it. This brings several sets of fresh eyes, making it easier for those little mistakes to get noticed and corrected.
What are some other press release writing dos and don’ts that you’d add to this list?