Before you start to write a news release, you have to consider if it’s the appropriate thing to do. To decide, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my story?
- Is my story news?
- In a stack of dozens of news releases, is there something about my news release that would catch the attention of the media?
- What results do I hope to produce from my news release?
- What audience will my news release speak to?
- How will our company distribute the release – wires, mail, fax, or email?
The story could be a trend that is shaping your industry, a change in your organization’s executive team, the introduction of product or service that will radically change the way we do things. A news release can be used when you open a new office; win an award; introduce a new product or service; sponsor an event; or any other such happening. Like any communication piece, your press release must always tell who, what, where, when, why and how.
The point of a release is to entice the reader or journalist to contact you for further information. A press release is not an advertorial, its intent is to disseminate news worth sharing about your organization to the reader. If your press release is not newsworthy enough, wait until you have something substantive and worthwhile to say.
Key Things to Remember When Writing News Releases
- Your news release should be targeted to a specific person else it will end up in the recycle bin.
- Stay away hyperbole like “breakthrough”, “unique”, “state-of-the-art”, amazing and so on.
- Always write it from a journalist’s perspective. Never use “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote.
- Read lots of good newspaper writing, such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Washington Post to get a feel for the style.
- Shorter is better. Your news release should be no longer than 3 pages, but preferably between 350 and 500 words because they get more exposure.
- High quality images, podcasts and videos add legitimacy and sizzle to your press releases, which attract media professionals. To optimize visibility of your press release, add high quality images, audio (podcasts) and videos, and host them on them on the Flickr, iTunes and YouTube respectively because they are spidered frequently by the largest search engines. Flickr, iTunes and YouTube are also searchable social tools. Your press releases should also include headings, subheadings, bulleted lists, bold and italics to enhance SEO.
- Just above ### to signal the end of the news release, place your boilerplate, which is an old newspaper term meaning a block of standard text that’s used over and over again. In this instance, it’s any information that you might use at the bottom of all your releases.
- Always edit your press releases so they well-polished.
If it appears that there is too much to do, or remember when writing effective news releases, our press release writers will happily take on the task for you. Give us a call today!