The whole point of a press release is to inform the media, whether it be for the attention of newspapers, magazines, radio stations or blog sites, about a newsworthy matter which the outlet may be interested in covering. With journalists and publications receiving hundreds of press releases and pitches each day, your press release has to be able to turn the most drab of stories into something fab!
The fail proof way to grab the attention of the media is to title your piece with a newsworthy headline which encourages them to take an interest in your release. This is often best achieved with a focused primary headline and an explanatory subheader - both of which will establish what the release is about. Depending on the topic at hand and the media outlets you are pitching to, curating a title can be the chance to get creative. If the opportunity for wordplay or dramatic emphasis is appropriate, use it and make the recipient remember your release.
Whilst writing your release, your audience must remain at the fore of your work. Your writing style, facts and story must be considered in relation to the journalist and outlet receiving your pitch. It’s highly unlikely that a finance magazine is going to want a story about a new furniture range!
A press release should be roughly a page in length; it can be created using a basic framework and enhanced with your own linguistic flair and creative ability.
We have created a basic framework for you below; please use it as a guideline for your upcoming news!
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but you can judge a release on its title. Titles are the first thing your target audience will look at and if it’s monotonous, misinformed or unsuitable for the recipient’s publication, it’s unlikely the rest of the release will be well received.
When writing a press release, no title should be more than a sentence; subheaders are the secret to extending your headline statement. Subheaders are sentences placed underneath the headline which enhance the title and tease out a basic understanding of what the release will communicate. Whilst the title should grab the attention of the reader, the subheader should reaffirm their interest with explanation.
When pitching a fresh concept to an audience, fundamental information including dates, times, locations and people involved must be addressed quickly, ideally in your first paragraph, by way of setting the scene. These can all be placed in your introduction which should be snappy and informative, not long and tedious.
The body of the press release should contain the bulk of information related to your pitch story. Ultimately, the introduction and body paragraphs should hold enough information to create a new story. Things to include in the body paragraphs include, background information, specific features of interest in relation to the story or product and what to expect.
A quote is a great way to finish a press release. The quote should come from an influential position (often a CEO), should be relevant and always be positively inclined.
Your name, email and phone number should be placed at the end of the release so the journalist can register their interest with you. It’s also important to add hyperlinks to any resources you are referencing.
Granted, a press release worth any value has to be engaging, informed and original. However, this does not mean that you can turn a blind eye to the nitty gritty aspects of formatting. Each release should avoid being written in first or second person, headlines should be in bold, quotes should be included in quotation marks and it must be proofread!