A great amount of time in public relations is spent writing press releases to gain good media coverage for clients. Journalists are bombarded with press releases daily, and it is important to stand out as a PR pro and get that journalist to notice your writing. Here are some basic tips for writing an effective press release:
When writing a press release, the most important question to ask oneself should be “will anyone care about this?” If it’s not something that the majority of the public will be interested in reading, then it is not something worth writing a press release about. As PR people, we want to make sure that there is something new, unusual, or unexpected in your story for it to be considered newsworthy and for a journalist to pick it up.
Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
Writing a good subject line in the email being sent out to journalists is another important factor in determining whether or not the journalist will open it up. Whatever the story may be about, don’t be too clever with the subject line. Put “press release” or “story idea” along with a short but sweet topic headline.
Concise and Grammatically Flawless
Yes, grammar can and will make or break a press release. If a journalist finds grammatical errors in the release, he/she will immediately turn it away and not take it seriously. It makes the PR department for the organization that’s being represented look less credible. So be sure to proofread the release and have others proofread it as well before sending it out.
Quotes for Insight
Using quotes from people in the company you are representing can be helpful for journalists to gain more insight. If using quotes in press releases, they should provide insight rather than more factual information. For example, using a quote from a company employee that states how a policy change, event, etc. has impacted employee morale versus having an employee state statistics of the change. The quotes should have an opinion and avoid jargon or technical language.
Give Access to More Information
It is important to limit a press release to one page, but also just as important to show the journalist where he/she can learn more information about the story. Providing links to where journalists can access more information easily is crucial at the end of a press release. PR pros want to make it easy as possible to find extra information rather than a journalist trying to search for more on his/her own.
So, there you have it. The best ways to get a journalist to pick up your press release are listed above. This is one step at becoming a better PR pro, and the company you are representing will thank you for it!
Brooklyn Wilson just completed her sophomore year at Grand Valley State University studying advertising and public relations. This year she served as the event and coordinating director for GrandPR and has been an active member of the GVSU PRSSA chapter. Her passion for communication and relationship building, in addition to writing, led her to the PR field where she hopes to apply her skills within the health field. In her free time, you can find Brooklyn watching Netflix and going for long walks.