Press releases are invaluable tools for companies but only if they are used correctly. Failing to deliver a good press release can mean you don't get the coverage you're hoping for.
Press releases form an introduction to your company and, as e.releases suggests, increase visibility while ensuring you are viewed as an industry expert. The better the press release, the more people who are likely to see it or the resulting articles.
In order to get your company's press releases noticed, they need to contain unique information, be well written and relevant. Failing to deliver even one of these aspects can have a detrimental effect on the release's success.
This article is going to look at five top tips when writing the perfect press release:
- Does it deserve a press release?
- Attention-grabbing headline
- Put across your point quickly
- Cite sources
- Use quotes correctly
Does it deserve a press release?
For starters, does the piece of news you're planning on sending out really require a press release or could it be posted on your company blog? Press releases need to be newsworthy and contain information that is of interest in order to increase the chances that they will get coverage.
As PR Newswire points out, this means leading with the story and not with your brand. Whether it's new research, a product or an important new hire, your press release needs to have a hook that will catch the eye and a story to lead people through it.
Figures, facts and findings need to be relevant to a wide audience in order to be deemed newsworthy and ensure that as many publications cover your release as possible. Overshadowing these points with unnecessary mentions of your brand can mean the news gets buried and is less likely to engage people.
As with any article, a press release needs a headline that is going to capture attention. It could contain some incredibly interesting and shocking statistics, but if this isn't reflected in the headline, readers are less likely to see them.
In fact - as Forbes confirms - the headline is the most important part of every press release. It needs to cover what the story is and show people why they should care about it, especially when you consider how many press releases get sent out on a daily basis. Headlines should be concise, contain a piece of new information, act as a summary and be relevant to your targeted audience.
If you are hoping to attract several audiences to your press release, this can be difficult to achieve with a single headline. In this instance changing your press release and headline slightly to play up a specific finding or statistic can help to increase engagement.
Put across your point quickly
The first paragraph of a press release needs to include the most newsworthy information. Many people will only read the first paragraph and skim the rest, so - as the Huffington Post suggests - you need to get as much into this initial paragraph as possible.
If you have your main statistics and findings in this first paragraph or a reason as to why your new product or service is needed, it increases the chance of coverage. The rest of the press release should contain supporting information to highlight your main points and add further interest.
As well as a succinct initial paragraph, it can also be a good idea to start your press release with a few bullet-pointed key takeaways to make it more reader-friendly.
In the instance that you are including research or statistics from another company to support your press release, these need to be cited. As AdWeek points out, without the sources, there is no story and many people won't cover your press release as they cannot verify the information you have included.
Whilst research may well be your own, this needs to be made clear enough that anyone writing from your press release knows that it has credibility. However, any information that is not original needs to be cited within the release itself, with the extra information section giving a link to the original source.
This means you are making it as easy as possible for someone to write up the information provided in your press release, which increases the chances of them doing just that.
Use quotes correctly
Quotes are a good way to ensure a press release is unique while also giving more visibility to your brand. However, they need to be used correctly in order to be effective and to increase the chance that they will be included in any articles about your press release.
The Guardian's most important tip for using quotes in press releases is to ensure they offer insight rather than information. Any quote you use should sound like a real person sharing an opinion on the information you have included in your press release, it should not be used to simply include more statistics.
Quotes also need to be simple, steer clear of complicated jargon and be suitable for each of the audiences you are targeting.