In the world of PR, writing an effective press release is “an essential skill.” Coming into my Comm 368 class, not knowing how to write a good press release…I was scared. We created a mock press release for an assignment. Haven’t received the grade for it yet, but fingers crossed I did…somewhat decent on it . Below you will find five effective ways of writing a good press release.
1. Is this newsworthy?
Before writing a press release think about what you need to read before you write. What is trending in the media. Ask yourself a few questions, “Is there anything NEW in my story?” Will people find this interesting outside my business?” “Will anyone care about this?” As a professional you want to find what is interesting, what brings excitement through the readers. It is simple to find newsworthy material in the media once you read, watch or listen to coverage in the media.
2. Headlines that kill…
When creating headlines...DON”T TRY TO BE CLEVER. As a journalists you will waste more time coming up with a clever headline than actually creating a headline that makes sense. Whatever the topic is, be straight-forward with the headline. You don’t want your reader lost or not understand what the story is about. The headline is like a opening show, you want to impress and reel in your audience in the beginning so they stay.
3. What’s your first line?
“If your first sentence doesn’t grab your readers attention, they may not read any further.” The most important information goes at the beginning of you release. The first line should be a summary of the story, containing only 15-20 words. It must read like the opening of a news story. Remember the “five W’s?” (Who, what , where, why and when), make sure you use them. Very Important to knock out the five W’s in the opening summary.
4. Short and sweet…
A normal length of a press release is about 300-400 words. Basically that is only three or four short paragraphs. “If your press release is longer than 300-400 words, then you have too many fish that needs to be thrown back to the sea.” At the end of the page, add in a section “notes to editors” that includes information about the company. When writing a press release maintain a short and detailed story, but keep it sweet for all readers to enjoy.
5. Quotes, quotes, and quotes…
Including quotes from people in your company is like getting a bonus at work, “you’ll take it because that is what you want.” These quotes in press releases should be used to provide insight and opinion. It should feel as if the person is speaking directly to the audience. Slang words should be professionalized before putting them into the story.
As a PR student I love adding in quotes on what the person’s response to something was. I feel the more quotes you have the better the story, just remember don’t feel the entire press release with quotes, quotes, quotes.