Every copywriter has to put out a press release.
Journalists get press releases all day long, so a good press release gets their attention and cuts through the noise. Here are seven tip for writing press releases that are the best calls to action.
- Start with a good headline
Don’t make the headline too smart. That’s a job for subeditors at news services. Summarise the main points in a strong headline. It has to explain the importance of the release, the challenges faced, and the actions, or solutions, happening. Journalists should understand what the release is about just by reading the headline.
- Don’t bury the lede
The lede is the first par in a journalist’s or copywriter’s story. It give the main points of the story. The copy writer has to think like a journalist and follow the WWHHHH rule.
Who: What’s the name of the company?
What: What product are they offering?
How: How does it make a difference?
How: How does it work?
How: How is it going to solve problems and make things easier?
How: How much does it cost? How much time and effort is involved?
- Write quotably
Use concise clear sentences that the journalist can use in their story. Use short, easy-to-understand sentences. You are not writing something for the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s a press release! Avoid unnecessary detail and description. Make sure the release gives opportunities for company spokespeople to embellish in interviews if the journalist requires more information. Journalists will quote the press release verbatim, so avoid using “our”, “us”, and “we”. Instead, use the company name.
- Include third party quotes:
Ideally, the press release should include quotes from company spokespeople
- Don’t use jargon
A journalist is not going to consider the press release if they have to Google the terminology. Spell out acronyms and make sure the content and language appeals to a wider audience and can be understood.
- Add a profile or backgrounder
This should appear under a subheading and at the end of the release. It should explain need-to-know facts about the business (e.g. when it was formed, where it’s located, how many employees, key products/services, key markets/customers, etc.).
- Include a boiler plate
This is the background information about the company at the end of the release, along with contact details.
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