Are you writing the perfect press release for the web (and beyond)? It can be done; just keep in mind a few simple rules.
The Topic Of This Post
- 1 What is the press release
- 2 Rule No. 1 – NEWS: you need to have something to communicate.
- 3 Rule No. 2 – How to WRITE a press release.
- 4 Rule No. 3 – HUMANIZE the press release.
- 5 Rule No. 4 – Provide DATA.
- 6 Rule No. 5 – Avoid self-referentiality.
- 7 Rule No. 6 – ENRICH the press release.
- 8 Rule No. 7 – SENDING the press release.
- 9 Rule No. 8 – TARGET: choosing it well is fundamental.
- 10 Rule No. 9 – Cultivating NETWORKS OF CONTACTS
- 11 Rule No. 10 – The telephone RECALL
- 12 Some tips
What is the press release?
The press release is an important communication tool available to companies, bodies, associations, and organizations (public and private). Born over a hundred years ago (the first to write it back in 1906 was Ivy Lee to inform the press about an accident involving a Pennsylvania railway company), today, with the web and new technologies, the press release has assumed a central role in PR to communicate to the media.
So how do you write a perfect press release? Follow these ten simple rules:
Rule No. 1 – NEWS: you need to have something to communicate.
The news first. The first thing to know when deciding to write a press release is that what needs to be conveyed to the reader is the news. What if there isn’t? It must be created!
Rule No. 2 – How to WRITE a press release.
Accuracy, brevity, and clarity: writing the perfect press release is the summary.
Avoid grammar and syntax errors (there is nothing worse than finding spelling errors), superfluous adjectives and adverbs, favor short and linear sequences, keep a good reading rhythm, and build your communication periods in a modular way ( journalists will thank you!).
The lead (opening hat or incipit) of the press release must contain the essence of the news. It should (but is not essential) understand the 5W (or even 6) encoded by Anglo-Saxon journalism. These provide, in their entirety, the summary of the writing of the press release:
How that does not begin but ends with a w (come)
This principle remains today a very useful starting point when you are in front of a blank sheet.
There are two criteria for approaching a press release: use a chronological scan of events and logic. Advice? The second is because the emphasis is defined by the priority of the information you want to convey and not by the timing of events.
The title gives the news in the extreme synthesis of the available space. One of the elements on which press officers “play” a part in a press release’s success is the title. At a journalistic level, three elements make up the title in the strict sense: the title-line, the buttonhole, and the bolt.
The title-line (the title in the strict sense) gives the news in its essential elements or, in any case, must intrigue, the bolt (the part under the main title)
In the most substantial press releases, sometimes, after the title, there is a summary, a sort of summary of the key concepts that will be exposed in the press release.
The press release style is subjective and depends on the image (and therefore on the personal branding ) that the company wants to show on the outside. Avoid too many formalisms, no corporate, and excessive technicalities unless the topic or target requires it. Not being understood is like making an own goal.
It is written (also) for positioning, so keep in mind the keywords and SEO optimization of your press release.
Take care of the graphics; never leave anything to chance. It also communicates with images and is presented in a clear, clean, recognizable way is certainly a winning card.
Rule No. 3 – HUMANIZE the press release.
It may seem banal, but there are people behind an event, a demonstration, an inauguration, or the launch of a product/service. Insert a quotation mark with a statement that helps increase the news’s value and contextualize it.
Rule No. 4 – Provide DATA.
Data, data, data. When writing a press release, it is advisable to provide the media with a photograph or an overview – as complete as possible – of the context, accompanied by statistical data from official sources (e.g., Istat, Unioncamere) reports and public or ad hoc commissioned research. In this way, the news object of the press release could be the pretext to open a wider debate amplify the target audience and the catchment area of your audience.
Rule No. 5 – Avoid self-referentiality.
There is nothing more “obnoxious” than receiving a self-congratulatory press release. It’s useless. If there is news (example Inaugural …, Company/service/product is born, the company is a leader in Italy / Europe, the product/service is innovative, etc.), the press release is enriched by itself, if instead, it is weak, adding futile literary tricks will certainly not make it more interesting in the eyes of the recipients, only prolix and not very incisive.
Rule No. 6 – ENRICH the press release.
In addition to the press release text, it is important to take care of the photos and insert captions.
It is absolutely essential to send journalists and bloggers images with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi (and in any case not grainy), name them correctly (so as not to make the recipient mistake), and perhaps insert them at the end of the press release or the text of the email the caption of the photo. If the photo was taken by a photographer, it is good to mention the credits in order not to incur “penalties.”
It is also useful to add a sentence such as: “High definition images are available on the XYZ site, or can be sent to you by email” or “to download high-resolution images ( HTTP: // address ). Providing quality images, especially to travel journalists or journalists who write in print, is essential to enrich the press release.
It is good to send information flyers and brochures with the press release to help provide more information to the recipient. At the end of the press release, it is essential to insert the data of the press office or the office that drafted it, the person to whom journalists and bloggers can refer if they want to learn more about the news.
Rule No. 7 – SENDING the press release.
There’s no point in having the news of the year if the timing is totally wrong! The press release must be sent in the late morning or very early afternoon to the newspapers (preferably anticipated by a call to inform the journalist/correspondent/editor of the news), within 2-3 days from the closing of the weeklies and around 15-20 days before the close of monthly or periodicals. In the case of press releases related to crisis management or news stories, it is advisable to send the note (even short) to the editors as soon as possible. There is time to deepen it; the important thing is to give it!
There are two schools of thought regarding how to send the press release.
Some prefer to simply copy-paste the text of the press release into the email – I recommend that you also send an attachment in .doc format or in Rich Text Format format, which can also be read with other writing software, to use the pdf only in case of sending a graphic-rich press kit -; others compose a short abstract of the news.
The ” sending style ” is very personal and depends on the type of contact of the person who “packs the news” with the target. It is imperative to remember that the average journalist loves informal and lean relationships.
Avoid phrases such as: “Please give maximum circulation to the news” or “With a prayer of disclosure and dissemination.” The press releases are born to be disclosed, not to be “kept under lock and key,” so the mission is clear, and inserting obsolete (circumstantial) phrases brings back only a retro style and not in step with the times.
The subject of the email does not necessarily have to be the same as the title; on the contrary, it is often enriched with additional information. For example, if the press release title is “Inaugural the new showroom XYZ,” it is good to indicate in the object the day, time, and place. An alarm bell sometimes shifts some priorities (especially for journalists, editors, and bloggers who have a busy agenda).
Rule No. 8 – TARGET: choosing it well is essential.
The press release must be sent to a (previously selected) list of recipients in BCC (blind carbon copy). It is a serious mistake to send the list of recipients in carbon copy also because – in addition to providing free to other potential contacts (and creating a valid contact costs energy, continuity, and constancy) – you would be putting private addresses at the mercy of other subjects who could make them an improper use. Such great attention!
If you have a professional platform for sending press releases, you have an advantage: monitoring of openings and who has downloaded any attachments. So if you have it, even if uploading the press release is more laborious, use it (it will also be useful when you do the telephone recall, but it will also be an important data analysis tool and will make you understand if the issue has had or not appeal on a specific target).
Rule No. 9 – Cultivating NETWORKS OF CONTACTS
It is essential to create and keep the network of contacts constantly updated, take care of relationships, and make them grow. In this way, journalists will often be looking for you because they need information on a certain topic and not vice versa.
Today, as well as to journalists, press releases can be sent to bloggers, network influencers, forums, social networks, users subscribed to the newsletter. Write down, perhaps on an Excel sheet (or if you have it in the notes of your management system), when and what you have sent to a particular person, you will avoid unnecessary duplication and dispersion of news.
Rule No. 10 – The telephone RECALL
A phone call saves your life. No, it’s not a TV commercial; it’s the truth. Sometimes a simple phone call like, “Did you get the press release? I just sent an email,” can get the news out in the press. Sometimes the email may not arrive, “get lost in the network,” or go to spam, so always check.
Avoid calling the newspapers “interns or novice hires”; contact is sacred and, once burned, is lost.
Add a ” call to action ” to the press release, make it dynamic, and you will increase its value. And don’t forget to insert great lake loan links within the text to learn more about the news.
Do you have any other tips on how to write the perfect press release? Write them in the comments!