A press release is the standard way to alert the media, and increasingly the online public, to what you are doing or selling.
The press release (PR) is part of the public relations artillery and should be used with caution. Although it is mostly written and distributed by public relations professionals, you too can competently write your own public relations by keeping the following 12 key points in mind.
Think of the 5 ‘W’
The PR mantra is WWWWW. Before doing anything, think Who, what, when, where and why. If you don’t include this vital information, it’s a total waste of time.
The first golden paragraph
This is your chance to get media attention, so make it impactful. The first short paragraph should announce the ‘5’ W’s and the rest of the RP will expand on it.
We call it “news” because it is “new.” What Makes Your Story Press Worthy? What’s new in what you are doing? Is there new research? The media loves stories about anything that is the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, the first in the world, or the most exciting. Think of all the ways your story is new, include them, and support your claims.
A PR should never have more than two pages of A4 paper. One page is ideal. Keep the font neutral and the layout clear; 1.5 line spacing is best.
Always include your contact details at the bottom of the PR. That is your full name, phone number, mobile phone, and email address.
Include a quote that communicates your key messages in an upbeat way. You sound “excited” or “excited” about what you are announcing. If it’s not really interesting or exciting news, you shouldn’t bother the press with it.
Review, review, review
It is unacceptable to send a PR full of grammatical errors. Ask someone else to check it, then print it out and check it again.
Tell them about it
When sending an email to your PR, please include it clearly in the main body of your email. The media probably won’t bother to open your Word document attachment.
There is a fine line between effect and being completely misleading. Look for an attention-grabbing headline, but don’t lie or exaggerate your story. Also, NEVER USE CAPITAL AS IT WILL ONLY ANNOY PEOPLE.
Write for the task at hand
Your PR is not a prose writing contest submission. Keep it clear, informative, and as factual as possible. Have fun with the headline, but don’t overuse single words in the main body of the release.
It is not a sales pitch
Refrain from “talking about sales”; This is not the place. A PR serves to inform the media about a newsworthy event, not to whip a product as in an advertisement.
Use press releases wisely
Expanding your home office into a purpose-built garden shed may be great news for your family, but probably less globally. Post strong stories and get a good name for yourself. Take out the trash. Remember that it is your reputation that will be at stake.