- WRITE A KILLER HEADLINE
Every single day press releases are arriving at a journalist’s inbox. Not only do you want them to read the article through to the end, but you firstly have to get them to open the thing in the first place!
The best way to send a press release to a journalist in this day and age is by email.
The title of the email should also be the title line of the press release and its main subject matter. Now is not the time to go cryptic! You need to get straight to the heart of the wash so to speak.
Writing a killer headline might be a challenge for many, which is why you may use a professional press release service when faced with this daunting task!
Whether you opt to do this yourself or to use press release distribution services, you should cut and paste the document into the actual email itself, rather than add it as an attachment.
This is for two reasons. Firstly, because a lot of journalists will not accept attachments from unknown sources through email, because of spam filters; but also because you need to grab their attention up front and do it PDQ.
- THE TOP LINE NEEDS TO REEL IN YOUR READER
Your first line is absolutely crucial in reeling in your reader. If the first line is not compelling then you are sunk from the start. It needs to be snappy, intriguing and make the reader want to know more.
This is the line that summarises what the rest of the email is about. In about only fifteen to twenty words it needs to neatly sum up what your press release is. This is quite a skill and one that people use a press release writing service for.
In those first few words of the top line, you need to include the ten commandments of journalism – although there are only five of them -who, what, where, when, how.
If you can tell the whole of your story in those twenty words explaining the whole of this, you’re on to a great start.
- DON’T MAKE IT LONGER THAN ONE PAGE
As you can imagine, your reader’s concentration span is going to be short. He or she has a lot more things vying for their attention than your email. The last thing anyone is going to do is read anything that is longer than one page.
Press release best practices state you should tell your whole story in a few brief paragraphs. The optimal length is only about three hundred to four hundred words.
Don’t cloud the issues with the backstory or history of the company. The best way how to write a press release for a product would be to keep it brief, use bullet points and double spacing to make it easily readable. All the background information can be included as an appendage under ‘notes to editors’ at the end of your release.
It is okay to run to a second page for the follow up information and contact details.
- WHY IS DOES YOUR STORY MATTER?
To be blunt, who cares about this product or latest business service? When you’re writing a press release the person you have to convince firstly is not your potential audience, but your journalist. And your journalist will be hard wired to detect news. If your story is lacking in news then it is unlikely to make it into print. You need to come up with an angle that makes it matter.
- USE AT LEAST ONE QUOTE
The best press release examples you will read always include at least one quotation. It is a standard tactic to have an insightful quote in your story.
However, this should not be part of the description or information, it is there to illustrate your point and lend colour to it, whilst further drawing in your reader.
The right quotation, be it a famous one or by someone famous will add value to your release.
- BE CONCISE AND PUNCHY
Get in quick and hit the reader between the eyes before they even realise what’s happened. This is basically the top tip you will ever get on how to write a press release. Of course, this is easier said than done and why people employ a press release writing service.
- MAKE THE GRAMMAR PERFECT
Nothing turns the eye away from a page faster than poor grammar and punctuation.
Even the best press release distribution services cannot help you if you make this fatal error!
This is the visual equivalent of turning up drunk and slurring through your speech or pitch. It will not only fail to communicate your point, but it will be off putting to your audience.
- REMEMBER TO DO A FOLLOW UP
Finally, journalists are busy people. If you haven’t heard anything back following your email after a couple of days, follow it up with a polite phone call or message.