Accessible Marketing

11 tips for writing a press release

by Judith Hutchinson

11 tips for writing a press release2

So you want to increase your profile in the media but are a little unsure of where to start.   First things first have a think about what ‘things’ your customers watch, listen to and read (the more specific you can get the better).  Is it printed press and in which case should you be looking at regional, trade or national press?  Or would it be better for your business to reach your target market by engaging with specific bloggers who have a better reach to your target audience?

Research your target media – what sort of articles do they feature, g what does their readership want to hear about – Will they really be interested in you recruiting two new members of staff or are they more interested in a piece of research you’ve conducted or a more national piece of news that you can develop into a trade specific story?  What you focus on really depends on what you are promoting and to whom.  Think about what you want to achieve – are you raising profile to increase sales, find a buyer for your business, launch your new product and so on and so on (you need to think specifically for your business).

Once you know which publications you wish to target and what you want to talk about (your hook) you will likely need to compile a press release and here are my top tips for writing one…

  1. You need to include who, what, where, when, why and how in your release
  2. The headline and first sentence must catch the attention of the journalist (they receive hundreds of press releases every day) – this is where you sum up the good stuff
  3. If you’re sending it to local media include the ‘where’ in the first sentence
  4. If you’re sending it to specific press (e.g. trade press) the ‘what’ needs to be in the first sentence.
  5. Write it like a newspaper story (in the third person). Basically you need to make it as easy as possible for the reporter to cut and paste what you provide.
  6. Reporters are on deadlines – if they have to phone you for the why or the when etc. They may not bother and may simply move on to the next story.
  7. It’s good to include direct quotes in your press release. They must be attributed and are a good place to promote the business.
  8. Further along in your release you could include interesting facts and figures to put your story into context.
  9. An A4 side will suffice and certainly no more than 2 A4s (often send it within the email rather than as an attachment but this depends on whom you are sending it to). Good quality supportive images are a good idea too!
  10. You can include ‘notes to the editor’ at the end of the press release. This is usually a short bullet list of useful background info. E.g. Info on the company, the event you are running etc.
  11. ALWAYS include contact details of somebody in particular along with an email and telephone number.

I’m sure there are more tips – what are yours?

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