Newsworthy events deserve glowing news coverage, but alas, it’s not always that clear-cut. No matter how marvellous your developments are, you can be sure that journalists and editors have seen it all before. Consider them the gatekeepers of the media world; to make it past their watch, you first need to cast a spell on the head honchos.
Besides putting in the legwork to sweeten up your media sources, you need to write a press release that will mesmerise not only the wider audience, but the journalists and editors too. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips to help you get started:
1. The perfect distillation
Media professionals receive a barrage of correspondence every day, so show you value their time by making your press release short, sweet and to the point. Hook their attention with a punchy title, and sum up the central points of your story in the opening line.
Just as newspapers prioritise key information for the reader from the get-go, lest they get bored, cut to the chase in those first few paragraphs. If they decide to read on, they can delve into finer details further through the press release.
2. Use quotes selectively
Journalists always appreciate a well-chosen quote i.e. one that doesn’t pad out the press release for the sake of it, or portray a literal meaning that could be expressed elsewhere. Unless they’re shedding some personal light on your developments, quotes are meaningless.
If someone has been appointed to a new position, for instance, then ask how they feel without any clichés. Or if your new product has hit the market, source a few quotes from the designer, who can build a picture of the development cycle and intentions behind it.
3. Break your news up
When your reader is pressed for time, they’ll want to be able to glance at the whole outline of what’s in front of them. Sub-headers are vital for giving the reader some breathing space, and can further isolate the components of your message.
These sub-headers must be punchy, relevant and direct. Place around 100-150 words of copy between them; any more, and the summative effect diminishes. It can also be helpful to write an ‘About’ section at the end, to put your developments in context.
4. Can you tell what’s exciting?
For anyone outside of your business, developments might not be the earth-shaking changes you think they are. Young writers are often asked to produce work that they’d like to read, and press releases cleave to the same idea. You have to stand back, viewing your news item from a foreign perspective, as if you’ve never encountered the industry before.
Practically, this can result in playing up the more unusual or characterful aspects of the piece. Is there a unique angle you can give, perhaps relating to a wider industry topic? A female joining your board, for example, could link back to developments in equality and diversity.
So before you release your excitement on the media, pause for thought as you consider how your news can be distilled into a compelling press release. Journalists aren’t going to take you seriously if you don’t give them composed, genuinely titillating information. By following these tips, you’ll grab their attention and earn their respect.
Still debating whether you have the time to put into a quality press release? Making You Content can help you create powerful stories for the media – contact us to learn more about making your stories matter.