Being mentioned on numerous news sites, websites and blogs and maybe even a multi-page spread in a glossy magazine can be the result of a well-written press release. The ultimate vehicle for getting your companys message out to the public, the press release is one of the most valuable tools that a publicist can employ. Theres no exact science to writing a press release, but following some basic rules can help your release to make an impact.
Listing all of the fundamentals at the top of the page, such as the date and contact information for your company, gives the journalists easy access to basic but pertinent information. Consider including a phone number and email address for a contact person who is very familiar with the topic at hand and will be available to answer additional questions from the press. The media will know that the information in the release is ready to be announced to the public when the words “For Immediate Release” appear at the top of the page.
Grab Their Attention
A catchy and informative headline can help your press release stand out and grab the medias attention. Busy journalists can receive hundreds of releases per week, so they tend to make quick decisions on which pitches to cover; the headline can help your pitch to pass through. Think about what makes a good headline on the front page of a newspaper; consider writing a headline in a similar fashion. For example, a release on a study that analyzes the demographics of single adults in various cities may have the headline, “Study Identifies the Best Cities to Find Your Soul Mate.”
Get to the Point
Answering the pertinent questions who, what, why, where, when, and how is the purpose of the lead paragraph. Getting right to the point and providing the most relevant facts in a compelling way can help to communicate a clear message and pique the media’s interest. Again, consider a story in the newspaper; the lede grabs your attention while conveying the basic facts and the gist of the story.
Provide Background Information
Every good story contains details, and press releases are no different. Though only two to three paragraphs in length, the background information that makes up the body of the press release can give journalists a comprehensive picture of the announcement or new product, for example. The data in the body supports the material in the lead. For example, the announcement of a product launch may mention the key aspects of the product, along with the reason why the product was developed, price points, and how consumers can purchase the item.
The “About the Company” section that is included at the end of every press release is the boilerplate. This one-paragraph section should include the company’s purpose, when it was founded, where it is located, the number of employees, and any other pertinent information. This section can also include legal disclaimers. For example, the beginning of the boiler plate might be, “Founded in 1975, Martin & Stein LLP represents clients throughout Canada in complex commercial and civil litigation.A clear and concise message, along with an interesting news story, can help to increase the media’s interest in your company. The resulting coverage can get your message out to the public, providing your company with exposure to new potential clients.