‘All publicity is good publicity’ goes the old adage. Wrong. But when you have something positive to say, why not harness the power of a well-written press release? Here are 10 tips for perfect press releases. Once you’ve read through these quick tips, why not check our latest client news here to see some best practice examples in action.
Know it’s newsworthy
‘Before you start, ask yourself’ do you have something new to announce or just a rehash of an old story? Is it relevant and significant? Make sure you have a clear story – one that will excite and engage. Don’t alienate busy news desks with frequent bulletins that don’t have a clear purpose.
Include the basics
That means a headline, date, the core elements of the story, contact details, photo captions with names (if using), and a piece of general text about your business, including website details. Don’t overwrite the release, but do make sure the reason why your news is ‘news’ is apparent.
Dress it up
Journalists don’t think only in words. Images and video – if relevant and appropriate – will help them create an attractive printed page or a web article. If you can, remember to include a couple of images – always hi-res – with a link of where to find more. Providing a complete package for immediate use saves time for your target and increases the chance of getting your message publicised.
Keep it clear and clean
Use no jargon, keep your words simple and avoid producing reams of pages – no more than two sides of A4. Plus, proofread and spellcheck your work. Make sure you’re coming across as a conscientious and competent operation that pays attention to detail.
Be accurate and attribute
Don’t include any sentences you can’t justify. Check: for every claim, can you answer: “how do you know that?” You’ll almost certainly want to include a quote too, and when you do, attribute it to an actual person, with their full name and job title.
Do your research – target the release to a specific editor or writer if possible. Call up the publication to find out who is best placed to cover your news. This avoids the wrong person assigning the release – and your time and effort – to the waste bin.
Reporters receive hundreds of press releases a day, and often the key to publication is not the release but the follow-up. Be prepared – and unafraid – to engage with persistent, but polite, reminder calls, with due regard to …
… Deadline pressure
Be aware of print deadlines – both in supplying copy/press releases at the right time and when making follow-up enquiries. This is to avoid bothering a journalist when they are under most pressure – and don’t have time to talk to you.
Make yourself available
Journalists often file stories late at night, and need additional information at short notice. In the age of the web, they are dealing with hourly deadlines, as well as daily, weekly and monthly ones. Make sure you have a contact with a mobile number to answer queries, and be aware these may come out of hours.
Create releases AND relationships
Press releases are just one element of effective publicity plans. If you want to generate the sort of coverage your business deserves, you’ll also need to build relationships with key publications, editors and journalists, and develop an understanding of the media marketplace too.
At PHD, our team includes working journalists and PR and social media experts. If you’d like to know how we can create a buzz about your local, national or international business, email our friendly team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 1977 708643.