Want press coverage for your business, but aren’t sure where to start? A press release is the quickest way to get your business successes in front of journalists. Here are our handy tips on how to write an effective press release.
Know Your Audience
Who is your story aimed at? Knowing the type of media you want to target with your news, such as regional press, trade media or national publications, will determine how that story is written.
If you’re targeting regional press make sure there is a strong local connection, such as where you or your customers are based, but avoid too much industry jargon. Save this for trade media who will understand the ins and outs of your industry.
Don’t write your press release for your intended audience, write your press release with journalists in mind. The job of a press release is to get your story in front of journalists and pique their interest, so how you send out your press release is not how it will appear in print.
Find an Angle
Ask yourself if your story really is news. What’s new about what you want to say? Are other people going to be interested in your story? Journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day, so ensuring yours stands out is essential. Facts and figures add weight to a story, so include these where you can. It might be an increase in turnover, creation of new jobs or major investment in new equipment.
Write an Informative Opening Paragraph
A journalist won’t read your entire press release before deciding whether they will use it, they’ll make the decision within the first couple of paragraphs. Ensure you’ve given the journalist the most important information in the first paragraph by including the six Ws:
- Who – Who is the story about? You can name your company here or you can describe what your business does. For example, instead of Anicca Digital we could use ‘leading digital marketing agency’
- Where – Where has the activity taken place? Be specific for regional press (e.g. Leicester) but more general for national media (e.g. East Midlands). You can always include more detail further down in the release
- When – When did your story take place? Use the present tense to emphasise to the journalist that your story is new
- What – What has happened? This is the main hook of your story, so explain what has happened as concisely as you can. You might have moved to new premises, taken on more staff or be hosting an event
- Why – Why has this happened and why is it significant? Is it the first or the latest, is it new or innovative?
- How – How has your business been able to achieve this? You might have made an investment so you can increase productivity or streamlined processes to save money
Using Anicca Digital’s recent move to new offices as an example of the six Ws in action, our opening paragraph would look like this:
“Leicester’s leading digital marketing agency is set for major expansion after investing £500,000 in new premises”
Keep it Concise
Keep your overall story to 300 to 400 words. Include three to four paragraphs of information to outline your story at the beginning and then use quotes to add detail.
Journalists are only interested in the facts, so keep your story clear and concise. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives or hyperbole as these clutter the facts and may prevent the journalist from seeing the real story.
Where available, add statistics to back up what you’re saying.
Write a Strong Headline
This is the first thing the journalist will see when it pops up in their inbox, so use the tips above to help you write a headline that gets your story noticed and include as many of the six Ws as you can.