The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Press Release

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writing a press release

When done correctly and with care, a press release can be a great way to get the attention of journalists and editors and earn some coverage.

So how do you write a press release that gets attention, pickup and press coverage? Let’s start with the basics.

Tips for Writing an Amazing Press Release

  1. Keep it short and simple.

    When writing your press release, focus on keeping it brief and easy to understand. Stick to the most crucial information and avoid going into unnecessary details. Your goal is to convey your message clearly and concisely.

    Use simple language that everyone can understand. Choose words that are familiar to most people and avoid using jargon or technical terms. Keep your sentences short and straightforward. This will make your press release easier to read and follow.

    Go through your draft and cut out any details that don’t directly contribute to your main message. Be ruthless in your editing. If something doesn’t add value or clarity, remove it. Remember, journalists are busy and appreciate press releases that get to the point quickly.

  2. Write a clear headline that grabs attention.

    Your headline is the first thing journalists will see, so it’s essential to make it compelling. A strong headline should be brief, interesting, and summarize the main point of your press release. Aim to capture the reader’s attention and make them want to learn more.

    Keep your headline short, certainly less than 10 words. Use active voice and strong verbs to make it more impactful. Avoid using puns or jokes that might be misunderstood or detract from your message.

    Think about what makes your story unique or newsworthy, and try to incorporate that into your headline. Be clear and specific, so journalists immediately understand what your press release is about.

  3. Put the most important facts at the beginning.
    When structuring your press release, put the most critical information at the top. This is known as the “inverted pyramid” style, where you start with the most newsworthy details and then provide additional information in order of decreasing importance.

    Begin with a strong opening paragraph that answers the key questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. This should give journalists a clear overview of your story and why it matters. Make sure to include the most relevant and interesting facts here.

    As you move through your press release, provide supporting details and background information. However, keep in mind that journalists may not read the entire release, so make sure the essential points are covered early on.

  4. Use quotes to make your story more interesting.
    Including quotes from people involved in your story can add depth and credibility to your press release. Quotes provide a human element and can help journalists understand the impact or significance of your news.

    Choose quotes that are relevant and add value to your story. They could be from company executives, industry experts, or people directly affected by your news. Make sure the quotes are clear, concise, and easy to understand.

    Attribute the quotes properly, including the person’s name, title, and organization. If you have multiple quotes, consider spreading them throughout your press release to maintain a good flow and keep readers engaged.

  5. Provide contact information.
    At the end of your press release, make sure to include contact information for the person journalists can reach out to for more details or interviews. This is typically a media relations representative or someone from your company who is knowledgeable about the story.

    Include the contact person’s full name, title, phone number, and email address. Double-check that all the information is accurate and up to date. If possible, provide both a direct line and a mobile number that are both answered by a real human being to make it easier for journalists to get in touch.

    You can also include a brief statement about the contact person’s availability for interviews or additional comments. This shows that you’re willing to work with journalists and can help generate more media coverage for your story.

  6. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
    Before sending out your press release, take the time to thoroughly proofread it for any spelling or grammar errors. Even small mistakes can make your press release look unprofessional and diminish its impact.

    Read through your press release carefully, paying attention to each word and sentence. Check for proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Use spell-check and grammar-check tools to help identify potential issues, but don’t rely on them entirely.

    It can be helpful to have someone else review your press release as well. A fresh set of eyes may catch mistakes you’ve overlooked. Consider asking a colleague or friend to read through your press release and provide feedback.

  7. Make sure your press release is no longer than 500 words.
    To ensure that journalists can quickly read and understand your press release, aim to keep it under 500 words. This word count provides enough space to cover the essential details without overwhelming the reader.

    Be concise and purposeful with your writing. Stick to the most important facts and avoid including unnecessary information or filler content. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to break up the text and make it easier to scan.

    If you find yourself exceeding the 500-word limit, review your press release and see if there are any sections that can be shortened or removed entirely. Remember, the goal is to provide a clear and concise overview of your story, not to include every single detail.

  8. Use a press release distribution service to send your press release to targeted journalists.

    To get your press release in front of the right people, consider using a press release distribution service. These services can help you target journalists who cover stories related to your industry or topic, increasing the chances of your press release being picked up.

    Research different press release distribution services and choose one that aligns with your needs and budget. Quality services offer targeting options based on geographic location, industry, or media type (e.g., print, online, broadcast).

    Don’t use free press release distribution services. They’re worth every cent you pay them (and nothing more.) Paying a small amount to a quality distribution service like eReleases.com can easily pay back your investment by getting you real pickup and coverage by real media sources. (Isn’t that why you’re publishing press releases in the first place?)
    Great, now that we have the basics covered, let’s go a little deeper…

Do’s and Don’ts for Writing an Effective Press Release

  1. Do Use Hyperlinks in Your Press Releases

    A press release is, first and foremost, a piece of writing. But it’s also a tool for getting your product or service noticed. If you want to increase the chances of your release being read and possibly even covered by media outlets, you need to make it easy for journalists to find the information you want them to read.

    One easy way to do this is by including URLs at the end of your articles. Even if your article is copied and pasted (which is illegal), you should still include the URLs at the end of your release.

    Why? Because when journalists receive your release, they’ll have a little red circle with a ‘+’ next to them. Clicking on the ‘+’ will redirect them to your website, where they can read the entire article.

  2. Don’t Send Press Releases Right Before Holidays

    Most editors receive a ton of press releases daily, and they have even less time to read them than they do to read new articles. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re often less eager to make time to read a release during the week when they’re in a rush.

    To increase your chances of being selected, you should aim to send your releases at the end of the week. The most obvious reason for this is that most people take a break from work during the weekends, so media outlets also have more time to read releases.

    The other reason is that Mondays through Wednesdays are usually the worst days for receiving new press releases because editors are under a lot of pressure to get whatever work they’re doing finished before the weekend.

  3. Do Consider SEO as You Write Your Press Release

    There’s a reason why newspapers and magazines have SEO specialists on staff. SEO is essential for both the press release and the article itself. As you write your release, include keywords and phrases that will make it easy for Google and social media users to find your release.

    Most SEO experts recommend including between 75 and 150 words, but if you have more information to include, you can always break your article into two or three parts and publish one each day.

    You don’t need to include every keyword, and you can even write something like “How can users help keep their homes clean?” and leave out “what” and “how.”

  4. Don’t Pitch to the Wrong Audience

    When pitching to a target audience like reporters, you don’t want to focus solely on the importance of your product. Instead, you should focus on how your product fits into the journalist’s current content.

    For example, if the journalist is writing about parenting, don’t pitch an article about how to make your product. Instead, pitch an article about how your product can help parents keep their children clean.

    This way, you can ensure that your release is pitched to the right audience and that your product gets coverage from a professional journalist.

    A quality press release distribution service will help ensure your press releases are sent to the right people, who are interested in your story, and who want to publish information like you are offering.

    While you shouldn’t neglect the importance of being helpful and valuable, you must also approach your product in a way that will help journalists see its relevance to their readers.

  5. Don’t Ignore Brand Personality

    When writing your brand personality, try to incorporate aspects of your product into your message and your brand personality. This can go a long way toward making your press release more interesting and engaging for readers.

    Some examples of how you can link your product to your brand personality are by including images of your product, discussing its features, or even linking to your FAQ pages.

    You can also link your brand personality to your product by discussing the benefits and features of your product.

  6. Don’t Use Slang

    Perhaps one of the most obvious dos and dont’s for press release writing is using slang in your release will not only make you look unprofessional, but it is also likely to put off potential journalists. Instead of using phrases such as “the latest in” or “best-selling item,” try to stick with more generic terms.

    This will also set you apart from the rest of the crowd, as most press release writers tend to be quite creative in their choice of words. As well as making you look unprofessional, slang also runs the risk of being confusing.

    If a journalist ends up receiving many releases with the same slang phrases, they may begin to doubt whether they’re receiving real information. Thoughtful, professional journalists will quickly spot this and look elsewhere instead.

  7. Do Be Clear and Concise

    I know this point is a bit repetitious but it’s wroth stating again. If you want to make a good impression on journalists, you need to make sure that they understand exactly what you’re selling. As well as making sure that the information in your release is accurate and detailed enough to interest journalists, you also need to make sure that it’s presented in the clearest way possible.

    This may sound like common sense, but it’s surprising how many writers fail to follow this simple rule. When it comes to press releases, the whole point of using a written medium is to quickly break down a product, service, or company and highlight why it’s relevant to the journalist.

    Journalists won’t know if your release offers any relevance if you’re not clear in your writing.

  8. Do Stay Honest and Real

    Likely, you’ve already written several press releases that were not exactly what they first seemed. Unfortunately, when you do this, you will almost certainly make the journalist who received your release feel like they’ve received the wrong information.

    As such, you’ll probably want to avoid this at all costs. However, avoiding generic descriptions while ensuring that it is clear and concise is not enough to make sure that journalists read your release.

    When placing an ad, you’ll need to ensure that you let the media know where, when, and how often you’d like to receive their response. You should also include a clear summary of what product, service, or company you’re advertising.

  9. Do Follow Up

    You’ll likely want to follow up and send another release when you receive a response from a journalist. This may be something that you tend to do just once, or it may be something you always do.

    In either case, a few key things to keep in mind when sending a follow-up press release. First, you must make sure that you send the right release to the right person. This means that you should make sure you send the release you received, not the one you’re not entirely happy with.

    Of course, the second thing to keep in mind is that you must follow up with the right person. This means that you should make sure that you follow up with the person who requested your first release, as opposed to a journalist who received your follow-up release.

Press Release Writing is Not Easy, but it IS Worth it!

Writing an effective press release requires a combination of clear communication, strategic formatting, and targeted distribution.

By keeping your press release short, simple, and focused on the most important information, you make it easier for journalists to quickly grasp your story’s key points. A strong headline, compelling quotes, and a clear structure that prioritizes the most newsworthy details can help your press release stand out and generate media interest. Remember to proofread carefully, keep your press release under 500 words, and include contact information for follow-up inquiries. Finally, using a press release distribution service can help you reach targeted journalists and increase the chances of your story being picked up by relevant media outlets.

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By following these tips and best practices, you can craft a press release that effectively communicates your message and generates the desired media coverage for your organization.

Are you in need of help with press release writingContact eReleases today for more business press release essentials.

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