Punchy press releases

Press ReleaseAs with any piece of writing, think about your audience.

Press releases are a great way to obtain free advertising. But, and it’s a big but, an editor or journalist will only publish something that’s sure to appeal to their readership.

Therefore, you need to target your press release to their publication. Whether it’s a local newspaper or trade journal, familiarise yourself with their usual content. You’re more likely to be successful with a well-directed submission than sending the same press release to all and sundry.

Build up a database of print and online publications and sort them by subject, then decide who to approach.

Ideas for press releases

You need a hook on which to hang the story. What’s interesting to you and your company may not have a wider appeal.

Here are a few subjects that may rouse enough curiosity to make a feasible article.

  • Launch of an original new product
  • Charitable fundraiser or community project
  • Company merger or deal that will generate new jobs
  • Relocation of your business to a new town may interest local press
  • Aspects of a case study about a successful venture

Writing press releases

An editor is quite happy for you to do the work for them. If your press release is well-written and can be used without needing additional work, it’s more likely to be published.

Remember, when writing press releases:

  • Don’t oversell something – it’s meant to be an interesting story, not an advert
  • Start with a punchy headline that sums up the article
  • Write in the third person using a reportage style
  • Avoid hype, business jargon or technical language
  • Include quotes to liven up the piece
  • Your opening paragraph should summarise who, what, where, when, why and how
  • Supporting facts and information follow in subsequent paragraphs
  • Finish with a roundup that includes your company name and main product/service
  • Background notes for the editor and contact details should appear at the foot of the press release

I’d say keep your press release short, but it can be as long as it needs to be if there’s relevant information to impart. However, don’t waffle – keep to the facts and end your press release when you’ve said all there is to say.

Back to my initial point. Think about your readership. What might be interesting to you in the trade may not be that fascinating to someone outside of it.

What we all enjoy is a compelling story; make sure you have one before embarking on a press release.