When it comes to getting media coverage for your business there are a multitude of paths that you and your business can follow, from social media to live events. However, one of the most tried and tested methods is the trusty press release.
If you have the budget to employ the services of a PR agency, they will likely come with a healthy little black book of carefully nurtured media contacts who take their calls and pay attention to their emails, but for many smaller businesses, the cost of outsourcing to an agency might be out of reach. In this article, we’re going to arm you with the basic tools that you’ll need to pen a clutter cutting release that piques journalists’ attention with little or no budget and utilizing only in-house resources. Read on to learn:
- What content you should send
- The value of a hard hitting headline
- How to get to the point
1. Ensure your release is newsworthy
Before you even begin the writing process, ask yourself “Does this story warrant a press release?” PR Daily have compiled a practical list of when a press release should be sent, so if your press release falls under any of those categories, then get writing. If it doesn’t, don’t send. It is always worth holding off, doing a little more research and dedicating a little more time to ensure that your release is something that others would be interested in, otherwise they simply will not read it - a harsh but true reality.
2. Have a punchy headline
Most journalists are flooded with emails on a daily basis, so making your press release stand out from the crowd is essential. It is standard practice to always include ‘Press Release’ in the subject line, but it is also imperative that your headline is attention grabbing and compelling. However, it’s important not to overdo it – that can often be more detrimental than it is beneficial.
The Guardian have written an article on how to create a headline that offers some great information. Although not specifically press release related, all of the learnings are transferable and should be taken into consideration when creating your headline.
The truth of the matter is that if they don’t immediately grasp what it is that you are pitching them, they’ll move on to the next business vying for their attention.
3. Get right to the point
Getting a journalist to open your press release is only the first hurdle. People are busy; so ensure that your press release is concise and to the point, but includes all of the important information. You need to grab their attention within the first three lines, or else you run the risk of losing their attention and having their efforts focused somewhere else.
4. Ensure that it is grammatically flawless
This one may seem pretty obvious, but it is surprising how often articles and releases with errors can find their way into an editor’s inbox. There is nothing more embarrassing than sending out a press release, only to have the journalist come back to you referencing typos. So before you press send; proof, proof and proof again.
5. Provide contact information and further links
The overall aim of a press release is to pique the interest of the reader enough to make them want to know more about you, what you do and how you do it. Always ensure that you have included all of the relevant contact information and any links for further reading that you have. It is unlikely that a journalist will print or post your correspondence word for word so ensure that you have given them the necessary information should they wish to contact you or your subject (typically an in house expert or ambassador) for further comment or clarification.
Remember, the press exists to inform and entertain their readers, listeners or viewers. When pitching your story to the press, you have to think like the press. The most important thing to remember is that the focus of the release isn’t to sell – it’s to convince a journalist that you have something interesting to say that their readers will be entertained and informed by.
Have you had any experience writing press releases? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, or tweet us @InboxInsight and let us know your thoughts.
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