press releases that get noticed

The Purpose of a Press Release

Do you know how to write a press release? Do you actually know what you’re writing? It may seem like a silly question, but many people who write press releases don’t know their topic completely. Make sure you have thorough knowledge of what you’re writing about. Not only will you become more credible, but you will be able to write a press release that is good. Press releases should only be written when something worth a media broadcast happens. Do not write about your birthday. If your company has created a true time travel machine, then that is something you can write about. People working in the media will want to put your news if it can be relevant to other people. Remember, you are writing for other people and not yourself. You have to be sensitive too, as I show below, about your audience, the people you want to publish your story and their time.

Who are you writing for?

The instant answer for this is “the media.” However, that won’t cut it and isn’t enough. Specifically, you have to send out your press releases to the mediums that will actually want to write about it. If you have invented a new way of bottling mineral water, there is not much that will appeal to readers of Pet Today. You have to consider who the target audience of your press release is. Send your articles to people that will actually care about the content. Don’t just send it to random people who, in all likelihood, won’t be interested. If your press release isn’t published, you will only break your own heart. Make it matter to people who matter. Know who you are writing for, and reach out to them.

Format is important

For your press release to maintain its credibility, you have to follow the standard format. That is, typed, double-spaced, with a header and your contact information. No one should ever, ever submit a press release that is handwritten. If your press release is done through emails, you should make the subject line of your email interesting so that the press will actually want to read it. Knowing how to write a press release involves knowing how it should be presented. No cute cartoons here, even if you especially love Hello Kitty. The only acceptable inclusions are tables, charts or process illustrations. Otherwise, leave it to your stationery at home.

The 6 Elements

Your press release should cover the basics. There are six elements that your press release should contain and these are who, what, when, why, where and how. These elements will make readers know what you want them to know. That is, important information that will put your press release into context. If any of these things are missing, your reader will be left with questions and they will feel that they are short on information. They have to know the basics about what you’re writing. However, do not over-elaborate your press release. Keep it simple, light and straight to the point. If they want to know more, that is what your contact information is for. Don’t expound too much on the new bottle cap that your company has invented. If you must, discuss the engineering behind it to the bare minimum. Again, you are writing for a purpose, and that is to tell your audience what they would want to know.

Embellishments are best left for clothes

A press release is not an article. It is simply written to present information in the straightest way possible. Therefore, knowing how to write a press release involves knowing when to stop the elaborations. Overly complicated articles never pleased everybody, and so your press releases should also be factual and straight to the point. Embellishments also include the absence of gimmicks from wanting to get your press release published. Save the flowers for your girlfriend, because sending cards and flowers just to get published won’t get you anywhere. Instead, focus on your content. A good press release will speak for itself. You need not be overly decorative in your press releases — both in the style of writing and its presentation. Remember, quality speaks for itself.

Check, check, check

Writers will especially be wary and critical of press releases that have grammatical and punctuation errors. Not only will you partially lose your credibility, but they may choose not to publish your article because of this. Another thing to consider is to check whether the journalist or reporter is busy. They usually are. So if you call them on the phone, be polite about it and be concise. You must be sensitive to grammar as well as the people you want to reach. If you insist on talking to journalists at your convenient time, they may never publish your work simply because you are an annoyance. Be courteous about your needs, because they are usually on a deadline. If your press release is not a matter of life and death, and you feel like it can wait a few more days, then by all means wait.

Know when to stop

At most, you have to keep your press release news to a maximum of 20 seconds on the phone. If you think that everything you have to say will exceed this, then you must offer to send a written synopsis of what you want to say. Again, journalists are busy people, so you wouldn’t want to annoy them at all. It’s also a good idea for you to write down the main points of what you want to say on the phone so that you a) keep it short and b) don’t miss out on anything. It will also help you become more confident about what you’re going to say. Being more confident will draw the reporter or journalist to you and thus, you will be able to achieve what you set out to accomplish: publication.