Here are seven tips to help avoid some common pitfalls and gain some much needed exposure:
Follow the pattern – All news stories follow a traditional pattern called the inverted news triangle or pyramid.
Start with a short, snappy paragraph that summarises the whole story in as few words as possible. Then, as you continue, flesh out the details with other, less crucial information. Imagine you are telling the story to a friend, what do they need to know first for them to be interested in your story?
Focus on one issue – Get your point across to the reader and follow it through, multiple subjects within a press release will detract from the main focus of the piece. By concentrating on one subject, you can shift the focus to your objective i.e. selling your product or raising awareness of an upcoming event.
Tell them who you are and what you do – let the reader know straight away who the story is about. The focus should be on your company and the main purpose of your company e.g. UK insurance company Big Insurance has today announced…
Quotes – Pretty much every news story contains a quote of some kind, attribute a quote to someone within your organisation who will carry as much credibility as possible. This is your chance to comment on the thing you are talking about and put opinion across e.g. Mr Smith, CEO of Big Insurance, said: “We believe this new policy will help our customers obtain true peace of mind and is in line with the other fantastic policies we have available”.
Remember, it’s news – It is so tempting to wax lyrical about a new product or service in a press release. Be careful not to start slinging adjectives and superlatives into every sentence to try and convince people how great the thing you’re talking about is. This may be true, but the journalist at the other end will most likely remove them straight away. Try to write your release so that it can’t be rewritten, use facts and stats to prove to people how good your new thing is. Remember to show them, not just tell them.
Think about your audience – There is no point going straight to the BBC or Daily Mail with a story about your latest product (unless you know someone who works for the editorial team there of course). Make contact with industry specific websites and publications who will already be interested in your company’s dealings.
What’s more, the people reading these publications or logging on to the websites are also interested in what’s new in the industry. These organisations are usually willing to strike up close connections and are generally enthusiastic to publish industry news.
Check before you send – Check out other press releases from competitors to see if yours fits in, this is a great barometer to see where you might be going wrong.