PRESS RELEASE WRITING TIPS
Writing a press release may be, at first a very daunting task. A well written press release can give you exposure like you have never seen before. Depending on how and where you distribute your press release, you may receive exposure on radio, television or even the front page of The New York Times! At 24-7pressrelease.com, our goal is to provide as much information to the public on writing an effective press release.
Content is Key
When you write your press release, keep your target audience in mind. At the same time, keep in mind that part of your audience will be an editor, reporter or journalist. This is important as these are the individuals that will publish your story if it is interesting. This will give you the extra arm of exposure that everyone hopes for.
Ensure that the first paragraph of your press release answers the important questions such as Who, What, When Where and Why. You have one sentence not to loose the editor/journalist.
It is important that the content within your press release is accurate, easily readable and to the point. A well written press release does not need to be a novel. Remember the point of a press release is to entice the reader or journalist to contact you for further information. You do not need to tell your Companies entire life history. In fact, shorter press releases (usually between 175 – 300 words) tend to receive more exposure, if written well. Why? Because many trade publication journalists may be looking for a short informative piece to fill a spot within a column of a magazine, newspaper or web site. Have you ever seen short snip-its within the side of a magazine, or down the side of the page on a web site. Guess where the information comes from.
A carefully written and informative press release will be sure to capture the eyes of journalists. Make sure you take your time, and edit your release carefully.
Do Not Embellish or Exaggerate Your Press Release Grammar
Now that you have written your press release, had it submitted for distribution and are receiving phone calls and emails about it, you will no doubt have some questions to be answered. If your press release is written with embellishments, you will lose credibility very quickly. You should be aware, that this loss of credibility will also carry over to future press releases. Journalists will remember a source. They will remember a name. They will remember a web site. If you leave a bad taste in their mouth, they will remember this experience. What does this mean? It means the next time you submit a press release it will likely not be looked at if seen by the same journalist/editor. They will remember you you’re your Company as someone that will embellish a story. Do not embellish or exaggerate your press release.
Make sure if you are using facts and figures to enhance your press release that you provide sources of these numbers where you can. The reason for this is simple. It adds credibility. If you publish figures or information that appears “to good to be true”, even though the information is accurate, your story may not get picked up. Again, although completely innocent, this may appear stretching the truth which also leaves the possibility of future releases being overlooked.
If the information is true, and you cannot back it up, if possible go conservative and inform them when they contact you. This may not always be possible, but remember, you do not want to turn a journalist/editor off.
By double checking your release, you will hopefully catch any grammatical errors. Although some of the best writers will occasionally miss grammatical errors or typos, by making sure you read, edit and re-read your press release, you drastically reduce the chance for error.
Print your press release. By printing your press release and reading a paper copy, you are more likely to catch any errors. This works great for press releases that may be a little on the longer side.
Have a co-worker or friend review your press release. Sometimes another set of eyes may catch an error. Although you may have read and re-read your work, sometimes when you are extremely focused, you may tune an error out.
Wait until the morning and re-read your press release. You would not believe the difference a night of sleep does when you are writing. When you are bright and fresh, re-read your press release to ensure that it is exactly how you want it.
If everything reads well and there are no errors, submit your press release for distribution.
How Often Should You Submit Your Press Release?
How often should you submit your press release? Rule of thumb is once to twice a month if you have news to tell. This being said, if you do not have any news worth mentioning, then once a month is a good rule of thumb again IF you have news to write about. If you do not have anything to write about, wait until you do.
Many Companies go through changes. Management changes, product changes, service changes or other changes. To not have something to write about, in most companies would be rare. Do you have a hot new service you are now providing? Do you have a great new service you plan to offer coming up in the future that you would like to inform the public of? Do you have some new widget that you are importing that no one else has? Are you hiring some new executive from a Fortune 500 Company that will add an asset to your Company? These are just a few ideas to keep in mind.
As long as you have a good story to tell that will be interesting to the general public and of course editors and journalists, a press release may also be viewed, indirectly, as a way of brand marketing. People will begin to recognize your Company in the news. This being said, we do stress that you should have a story to tell. Do not flood the media or public with garbage in an attempt to spread your name. All to often we come across those who send out weekly press releases with no story to tell. These types of Companies will eventually become tuned out by editors and journalists.
Are images important?
Images are worth a thousand words. This is why magazines are so popular. They have images, they tell a story. Try to imagine your local newspaper with no image on the front page, but rather straight text. Try to imagine People magazine with no images of your favorite celebrities. Need we say more?
Some press release distribution companies such as 24-7PressRelease.com allow you to attach images to your press release.
Images tell a story. Images get attention. Images within your press release are a great way to extend your Companies logo. This works especially well when you are sending out multiple press releases.
Having the permission from this individual, to use their quote within a press release is extremely important. Failing to do so may result in a lawsuit, something that no Company would like.
If you are close to an individual, a verbal ok may be all that is required but we always recommend written permission.
This is the perfect location for giving information about what you are trying to portray to the reader. Perhaps the use of some statistics may be used, as long as you do not go overboard.
If you have already written a strong headline and sub headline, chances are you are well underway to writing a good press release.
Target The Media > Press Release Distribution Writing Tips At 24-7PressRelease.com – Targeting The Media
What not to write about
Do not write a press release that reads like an advertisement. Do not submit your press release if it is riddled with grammatical errors and typos. Do not submit your press release if it is geared toward illegal activity, stock promotion (unless you are a registered member of the NASD with a registration number), hatred towards others, or terrorism. Nobody will publish this type of release.
Do not continually submit the same press release over and over, or even one that is slightly modified from the original. If your press release was not picked up or you did not receive any enquiries, this should be a clue.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Micheal has been a public relations advisor with 24-7pressrelease.com since August 2004 and has experience in reviewing press releases. Through his experience he has seen thousands of press releases and communication with the journalism industry. Through his experience he has compiled a short, but informative piece for writers just starting out.