There is an art to writing a good, attention-grabbing press release, and it’s one that’s worth mastering. Journalists are exceptionally busy creatures and will simply throw away a release that doesn’t merit their attention, so it’s crucial to make sure yours makes the grade.
This infographic by Skadeedle is a useful checklist of the do’s and dont’s of writing a press release. However, here are some additional points to bear in mind if you’re determined to burst through the wall of indifference put up by so many journalists:
Use the correct version of English
Ensure you use the appropriate form of English: is your target audience British or American? If it’s British, use UK grammar and punctuation, likewise, if it’s American, use American grammar and punctuation.
Have a strong lede
This is referred to in the infographic, but it’s worth emphasising. A lede is simply the introduction to your press release. It needs to be strong enough to catch a journalist’s attention. Many people ‘bury’ the lede: they only reveal the most interesting, newsworthy aspect of their release several paragraphs in, which, of course, is too late.
Remember that you are not the point
We all love to talk about ourselves, don’t we? Especially the things we’ve created that we’re so proud of - we can’t help ourselves. Bad news: journalists aren’t interested in you or your company. They are interested in what interests them. Which means you’ll have to find out what interests them and seek to connect that with what you’re offering.
Truly understand the term ‘newsworthy’
Journalist after journalist complains about the amount of rubbish clogging up their inboxes. In other words, content that holds little ‘newsworthiness’ for them or their audience. Sending a journalist a press release to announce a new appointment in your company is not newsworthy. Unless the new appointment happens to be Mark Zuckerberg or someone of that ilk.
Similarly, the fact that your business has just won a major account might be of interest to your competitor, but it is unlikely that a journalist will be interested. If you’re struggling to find out what constitutes newsworthiness, why not take a look at the kind of publications your targeted journalist writes for and have a look at the content that does get published. You’ll kill two birds with one stone by doing this: you’ll get to know what your journalist likes to write about and what his/her readers want to read.
Although none of these points serves as a guarantee that your press release will receive the desired press coverage, you will significantly shift the odds in your favour.
Do you have any press release tips you can share with us? Use the comments box below.