Press releases can serve several purposes. They can help you share a piece of news you want to get into the great wide open. They can let you to have your say on the current news item which is relevant to you and which everyone is chatting about or, if need be, they help you when things go awry.
But working out what you want to say and how you want to say it can be a tricky task so here are some pointers.
Your starting point should be to define the objective of the release you are planning. Who are the intended audience and how will you reach them? And ask the question why would a news outlet be that print, on-line or broadcast actually cover your story – is it really newsworthy?
If you have passed this test then like with most things in life, the best place to start is at the beginning. A focused introduction allows you to set out your stall and make your main point early on. This should be so self-explanatory that it could be used in isolation and still convey your message. The BBC news website is a good example of this – after the headline the story is often summarised in a single paragraph.
Next, consider introducing some quotes from someone with authority on the subject you’re writing about which support the points you have made in your introduction. This will give your press release a bit of punch and gives the reader a human touch to consider and read alongside your key points.
Now you’re going to want to add to the initial points you made in your introduction. This is where you can flesh out your main message with some background and reasoning to really explain what it is you are saying – but keep focused.
Remember to avoid jargon and keep sentences and paragraphs short. In fact use the minimum amount of copy you need to get your key message across. If the media you are sending this to want to know more they will get in touch.
After polishing off your text, it’s time to consider a title or headline. Make sure it’s punchy but relevant.
Where you can, it’s worth including a relevant photograph to accompany the wonderful words you have written. Make sure the resolution is of high enough quality and you might want to take portrait and landscape photos to give the media some options. And remember, it’s always better to have people in your photos; faces draw the eye and make the reader more likely to focus on the release or story.
Finally, make sure you include your contact details so journalists can come back to you with any questions they might have.