How to write a press release is a skill that writers who want to excel need to learn. Writing a good press release takes skill, and it is important for a company’s image to write convincing and evocative ones. Press releases are the key to piquing the interest of reporters, journalists and writers to interest them in reading or writing about your company. Gone are the days when press releases only meant articles found in newspapers. Today, press releases can mean anything from telling others about your company and latest developments to showcasing important information that will interest others. In this article, we discuss how to write press releases.
How to write a press release
1) Catch the reader’s attention with a stunning headline
Headlines that readers will greet with enthusiasm mean that your article will be read. An interesting headline can make or break your press release: boring headlines such as “our company’s new computer system” won’t interest reporters and journalists. Instead, rewrite the headline to “A better IT system means a better tomorrow.” Make your headlines catchy. Would you read an article with a so-so headline? Additionally, your headline should be precise. It’s useless to put a headline that is catchy but that is completely different from what you are going to write. Make your headline promising, and deliver that promise.
2) The first will always be memorable
Write your main points in the first couple of sentences of your press release. This should grab the reader’s attention, and entice them to read the succeeding paragraphs, which should be supportive of your main point. There is nothing, truly, that is more annoying than information haplessly scattered throughout a boring document. So make your first paragraph count. Of course, it should support everything you promised with your ravishing headline. Knowing how to write a press release isn’t that hard, you just have to remember these basic steps.
3) Provide support with hard numbers
For a press release to be credible, you have to back it up with supporting evidence. Knowing how to write a press release also means that you can back up everything that you are saying with proof. Think statistics. Think case studies. Think books. These will make your press releases more believable. It’s more believable to write that “in a Harvard study, 60% of people who know how to write press releases are more attractive” than saying “most people who write press releases are pretty.”
4) Grammar check, please
Writers simply will not respect you if you have even one grammatical error in your piece. You see, writers are a special crop of people who will not tolerate grammar mistakes. In their eyes, incorrect grammar means incorrect information thus leading to the conclusion that the writer is not credible. Press releases have to be believable and little mistakes like “your” instead of “you’re” will irritate journalists at best, since they’ll be at the least offended with your inability on how to write a press release. There is a common pitfall for writers who believe that everything they write will automatically be correct grammatically. Ask a colleague or a friend to read over what you write. Heck, invite your family to check your grammar (as long as they are grammatically correct themselves.)
5) Who said what?
Quotes, like hard numbers, add credibility to your press releases. People that know how to write a press release know the value of quotes, especially from experts and well-known people in the field. Don’t just quote any random person, however, and for God’s sake, never quote Anonymous. Choose who you echo well. Providing quotes from experts in the field, such as doctors, researchers, lawyers (or even your own CEO) should give you the leverage you need to make your press release very credible. In the age of the Internet, credibility is everything.
6) Be reachable
A common downfall of most press releases is that they do not include the writer’s contact information. This is a must. Your readers have to know how to reach you. Include an email address, preferably at the top of your article. Not only will you boost your popularity, but you will make sure that readers will know that you can back up what you say. If you feel especially comfortable about it, you could include your office phone number so that replies will be more instant and your readers will feel more in contact with you. Things like your Facebook and Twitter page should be left out, however. Nobody wants to read about what you ate for lunch the other day, especially not readers of your serious press releases.
7) Keep it short
The maximum number of pages that a press release should have is two. One page is preferable, but if you really can’t cram all the information into one page, then by all means, make it two. Journalists (most of them) won’t take the time to read anything longer. That is also why tip #1 on how to write a press release is useful. You have to state your pertinent points at the very start of your press release and support it with a maximum of two pages. Nothing more. Busy writers and reporters have so much to read that they may miss out on important content if it is at the very end of your press release.
These tips should be kept in mind when writing a press release. Don’t be fooled or copy the typical newspaper headlines. They are often boring, and don’t catch the reader’s attention. Instead, be unique and love what you do. Be creative in writing your press releases, but be factual as well. Don’t embellish too much, but don’t under-deliver as well. As with all things, keep your promises. Don’t stray too much from the focus of your press release, because you are leading your readers astray. Remember that your target audiences are writers, journalists and reporters. Keep that in mind, so you can set the tone of your writing. There’s nothing worse than a badly written press release, because it won’t even make it to the press and that is your main goal.