What is a press release?
First things first, a press release is a clear, written summary of a piece of your news, aimed at journalists. It should give the reader all of the key information they need to write a story. A press release is usually accompanied by good images (more about why images matter to the media in our post).
Are press releases still useful?
There’s been talk of the death of the press release recently but, written in the right way, we still think they’re an incredibly useful tool. As a PR consultancy, it gives us the chance to sum up a story in the way that works for clients (we always seek approval before pitching one out) and journalists.
When should you write a press release?
Think about writing a press release when you have something clear and interesting to communicate. Before launching into writing a press release document, make sure you’re clear on what the news or angle actually is. Can you articulate the nub of the news in one or two lines?
Always bear your target audience in mind when writing – not just the publication but your end target. Is this relevant to them? And why?
And think about the media you’d like to get it featured in. Do they definitely feature news and not just opinion pieces or features? Have a good look at the paper, magazine, channel or site and see if they use similar stories to yours.
How should you write a press release?
You can vary the format depending on what you’re trying to communicate (for example, bringing a quote in earlier or leading with images). You can also tailor it to specific publications – for example making it more about your local area to local press. We keep the tone straightforward and clear – not too punny or boastful! But here’s a simple structure to kick you off.
Your company logo
What’s your news in a nutshell? Think snappy and eye-catching
Statistics or figures always stand out here
Date, your location
This is a key one. What’s the overall story in 3 – 4 sentences?
Keep it clear and simple.
We include a strong image high up in the release for interest (make sure you also include a link to a high resolution (300dpi) version of it or a selection of images).
Give further detail on the story. Ensure it’s based on facts rather than superlatives – save that for the quote.
Try to make one specific point with each paragraph.
Useful questions to answer in these:
Why is it relevant?
Any further details?
Include a quote from you or the relevant person. What would you really like to say or highlight alongside this news? This is where you can be more effervescent and excited.
Keep it pithy, to-the-point and in your brand tone of voice.
Remember, journalists might just pick up on certain phrases so think about neat soundbites rather than long, explanatory sentences.
Include your content details for further info – name, email, phone number?
We include a “boiler plate” – this gives information about your business – like an About Us on a website. Your business elevator pitch and when was it founded, who buy, awards won etc. Also include website and social links here.
Press release points to remember
- There should always be a clear angle in the release, meaning a journalist should have a reason to cover the news.
- Remember to tailor it depending on who you’re pitching to.
- And never, ever send it out to a blanket list. No “Hey buddy” openers – always research who you’re sending it to and make sure it’s relevant. Otherwise, you’re likely to be junked.