It’s funny how everything thinks they can do their own PR. You wouldn’t cut your own hair, you’d go to a hairdresser. And if you went out for dinner, you wouldn’t jump into the kitchen and ask the chef to move over while you cooked the meal.
So why do so many people think they are experts at PR? I’m here to show you how to become just that. I will show you how to write an effective press release. That’s an essential role of anyone in PR. That’s three years of journalism training and 30 years of working in the media all rolled into one small chapter….
The main purpose of all press releases is to promote something significant and specific.Itt adheres to a strict format and serves three marketing and promotional purposes:
1) To let the media know about an event, hoping it will pass the information along
2) To let the media know about your business, hoping a reporter will see a story in your press release and write an actual news article about it
3 ) To help promote your business' appearance on the Internet via blogs, websites, and social media networks.
The first thing most business owners get wrong is the press release. Editors and journalists are bombarded with information constantly pinging in their inbox and you can spot a press release not written by professional a mile away.
First of all make the subject box and headline enticing enough for them to want to open the email. Short words, sharp and snappy to grab their attention. You don't want to lose your reader with the first sentence Then if you’re lucky enough for them to actually open the email I guarantee that 98% of them won’t read past the first paragraph before assessing whether to press the delete key. The first line is absolutely essential and there’s the golden rule of the FIVE Ws Who What Why When
And in more detail:
Who is this story about? What is happening? Why is it happening? When it it happening? ………….. And then………..
How it is happening?
That’s it. Get all that information in less than 25 words in the first sentence.
Press releases should always be written in the third person. Write it as though you're sharing riveting information. If your information isn't riveting, bin it and start again. Maybe there's something you can add to your event or announcement that will make it more interesting. But absolutely don’t exaggerate. You can't mention that an A-list celebrity will show up at your event when you know full well he won't.
Linking your press release to a current trend or occurrence in the news can also help grab attention. For example Manchester Fashion Week was also held at the same time as Mental Health Awareness Week and I sent out press releases about a menswear brand focusing on positive body image and self esteem. It made international news.
The bottom line is that you can’t polish a turd and if your event is boring, your press release won’t sparkle with personality and no one is going to want to run with it.
Keep the press release to one page. Journalists don’t have time to wade through endless paragraphs of waffle.I recommend a maximum of 5 paragraphs.
Include quotes from person you’re writing about. Even if it’s yourself. And ALWAYS write in the third person. I have mentioned it before but it’s crucial to remember
There must be a call to action at the bottom of the press release; A link to a website for more information. A number for yourself to call to discuss more information.
A press release is not just a rendition of facts. Press releases always employ quotes taken from someone significant to the event, like a corporate executive, for example. But quotes in press releases are seldom a verbatim quote of what a personage actually said. They embody more of an enhanced idea of what the person should have said - an idealized version of a statement that pushes the press release's agenda. What a Press Release Is NotA press release is not a guaranteed marketing tool. Nothing is guaranteed in life. Don't anticipate every press release you write will always be picked up and passed along by mainstream media sources. It won’t But don't give up. Keep trying. Successful publicity depends on sustained effort.