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Six tips for writing an effective press release

A carefully planned story in a well written press release is an effective way to hook the attention of journalists, gain media coverage and get your brand’s online conversation started.

Journalists and consumers alike are bombarded with content every day so it has never been more vital to make every press release engaging. This can feel like a daunting task if you don’t come from a traditional PR background (which is more and more often the case, with many smaller companies and search marketing agencies dabbling in PR). But if your press release lacks an obvious story, reads like an advert or is poorly constructed then it is unlikely to gain any traction. So it is worth investing time in getting it right.

For each press release consider how well it meets these six criteria:

Is your story newsworthy?

Something might interest you or your client, but that does not necessarily make it newsworthy. A great news story is unexpected, informative, topical and timely. For example, companies launch products all the time, but if there is something unique or unusual about the product then it could be news.

Does your headline get to the point?

This is your hook and must get straight to the crux of your story. Keep your headline succinct and factual. Avoid hyperbole, exclamation marks and capitalisation.

Is your opener informative?

Your first paragraph should cover the key who, what, why, where and when of your story. Think of this as the summary of your story giving journalists all the crucial information they need to cover your story.

Have you covered all the facts?

You should begin your press release with the most unexpected facts first and then build on the story in descending order of importance. Save general company information and minor details for the end. Be sure to thoroughly check for accuracy and spelling as mistakes can be costly.

Does your quote support your story?

Quotes should add colour and back up the facts of your story. Be sure to include the full name and job title of your spokesperson so journalists can easily quote them in an article.

Are you contactable?

Be sure to include full contact details and make sure that the named press contact is available when the story is released so you don’t miss out on key coverage opportunities.

For more on this topic download our free whitepaper ‘Press Release Writing and Distribution’.

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