If you want media coverage, you need to craft a good press release. Mastering the art is an essential part of any marketing strategy. You may want to create buzz about your business, but what information should you include and how long should it be? It needs to catch attention and pique interest. Here are some tips:
Journalists are swamped with hundreds of emails and pitches each day. They may spend just a few seconds deciding if something looks interesting, so you need to grab their attention with a punchy headline. With only space for a handful of words in the email subject line, it’s crucial to make them count. If the reporter doesn’t understand immediately what your story is about, they’ll move on to the next one.
You need to get your message across as quickly as possible. Journalists are taught to get as many of the 5 Ws (who, what, where, why and when) into their first paragraph. Your first lines should give a summary of what your news is about – in no more than 25 words.
The following paragraphs should provide supporting information. Write in plain English. Don’t bore the reader with waffle, jargon or technical language and support your announcement with facts and figures. Break the release up with sub headings and bullet points to make the information pop off the page.
Bring your release to life with quotes. Don’t quote everyone on the plant. Just use one or two key figures to give a picture of the importance of your announcement and only use people who are available if interviews are required.
Put background information at the end of the release. Describe your company in as plain a language as you can and include a link to your website and/or links to any data sources.
Include two or three clear, usable photographs. Avoid sending huge files that will clog up inboxes and don’t refer people to a website where they could spend ages looking for a suitable image.
Don’t send the release as an attachment only. Paste your press release in the body of the email as well because a busy journalist may not bother to open an attachment.
Condense your information into one page – 300-400 words. Add a link if there are further specific details you want added.
Include a phone number (preferably a mobile number), as well an email address of someone in case of queries. And don’t send a release out just before you or the contact person goes on holiday.
Proofread your release for typos and grammar mistakes. Make sure all the necessary info is included. You’d be surprised how many releases fail to include basic details, such as the time and place of an event.