How To Write The Perfect Press Release
Whenever your small business launches a new product or service, moves premises or undertakes some kind of charitable activity, you’ll want to let your local community and wider client audience know about it. The most effective way to do this is through an effective and attention-grabbing press release.
Here are some top tips on how to go about writing a great press release and the vital art of getting your carefully crafted words out there.
1. Headline news
Your headline is what excites readers sufficiently that they want to read the whole piece. Keep it brief, enticing and to the point. You might want to expand slightly on the subject matter of the article by including a sub-heading but type it in italics to make it clear that it’s not part of the main headline.
2. Date and contact information
Always include the date at the beginning of the piece and if you want to apply an embargo be sure to mark it clearly with the precise time and date you want the information released.
It’s good practice to include your location alongside the date. This is very important if you’re trying to promote your business to a local audience.
Finally, don’t forget to include your full personal contact details, including telephone numbers and email address, at the top of the article or near the end. The editor may wish to contact you for more information or with a query and you must make it easy for them to do so.
3. Keep it brief
Try to keep your press release down to one page. Editors are deluged with press releases every day and don’t have time to wade through reams of prose. Also, if you ramble on too much, the impact of your message is lost.
Always write in the third person unless you are including a direct quote or statement; decide on what tense you’re going to use and stick to it. Finally, avoid using jargon and clichés; readers (and editors) hate them!
Editors love photographs so if you have any which are pertinent to your press release make sure you include them. The images should be in JPEG format and at least 300 dpi with a file size between 0.5 and 2 megabytes.
Include a picture of the product or a representation of the service you’re publicising together with a nice head and shoulders portrait of yourself. Don’t embed the images in your document but instead make a note under your headline that high resolution photos are available by email.
5. Introductory paragraph
The intro paragraph should provide a summation of the body of the article. Keep it to between 50 and 100 words and concentrate on the ‘w’s: who you are; what the announcement is, where it’s happening, when it’s happening, why and how (which granted is not a ‘w’ but important nonetheless).
The first paragraph entices readers to keep on reading so try to make it attention-grabbing.
6. Article body
The remainder of your piece adds detail (not superfluous padding) to support the opening paragraph. Remember to add interest by including quotes which support the article’s meaning.
The boilerplate is the sign off at the bottom of the article. This provides a mini-biography and details of your company website. Include details of your inspirations and motivations to add interest and include links to other associated articles you’ve written.
8. Grammar and spelling
Always proof read your press release or ask a trusted staff member to double check it for you. Use your spell checker then read over the text a couple of times to make sure it’s correct before you submit it. A press release full of errors does not look professional.
9. Target audience
Think carefully about the audience you want to reach and choose media outlets to approach accordingly. Don’t forget websites; e-zines and blogs too.
10. And finally
By subscribing to a press clippings agency you can keep track of where you press release is used. Press Index www.pressindex.com or International Press Cutting Bureau www.ipcb.co.uk include both print and online results.
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk