Writing press releases is an ancient art, the pinnacle of traditional marketing, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, public relations professionals are finding new and interesting ways to write press releases, making them more engaging, fun, and informative. Here’s how to write a press release that will truly engage your audience.
Writing Press Releases, the Best Way
The first thing you need to understand about writing a press release is the importance of knowing your audience. Not only that but asking yourself why does this matter? This first thought will start you in the right direction. You will start to develop why it’s timely, newsworthy, and why on Earth anyone should care.
A good example of this is, let’s say you have the launch of a new restaurant, charity event, or a star-studded red carpet event—you need to present the relevant information in a manner that causes a person to read it and take action. The info is much easier understood, retained, and repeated when they have the real facts and figures, presented in a way that can be easily repeated in any given casual conversation.
But while you’re writing press releases for a particular occasion, how do you present it in such a manner?
Must-read attention-grabbing headlines
Half the job is getting them to open the email and read it, and in that first few seconds, you can easily lose them. It’s time to think of a single line that contains enough value for someone to take time out of their day to read what you wrote. Sound complicated? It’s actually not nearly as bad as you’d think, as long as you keep these things in mind…
- Understandable language
- Action words
- Interesting content
Take into consideration that people spend a lot of their time reading headlines. They read more headlines than they do articles, but if the headline sounds interesting, they’ll want more. It’s as simple as that. So, take some time and put a lot of thought into every word. It’ll be worth it.
Be upfront with your info…
Don’t bog down your press release with pedantic drivel. Get right to the point, thoroughly and professionally. Being thorough still excuses you from being over-telling and wordy. Always remember the main questions to answer: who, what, why, where, and how. The reader should know the answer to all five by the end of the first paragraph.
Let’s be honest; it’s likely they’ll stop reading after the first paragraph, or will try to skim through for potentially essential information. Keep that in mind in the writing process. Maybe hold off on extra background info until after the first paragraph, that way, you can ensure the reader gets the answers they’re looking for. You are an authority in this situation, so be thorough, yet upfront; casual, yet authoritative.
… but throw in some irresistible fluff
Not to sound redundant, but the level of professionalism and forwardness with information is vital. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t “treat” the press with a little style and flare. Part of your audience is the reporter-base sifting for headlines—so to speak. Give it to them. Any time you see an opportunity to include something worthy of a quote, without sacrificing the integrity of information, you should absolutely include it.
When you quote someone, look at an authority figure involved in the process. That might be an official for the company, or product launch. They’ll offer the best insight into what is going on, and people will love to hear from them. That’s the kind of “fluff” you should be looking for. You could even consider adding several quotes in your press release.
Include numbers, because numbers don’t lie
Writing press releases is about selling the truth to non-believers. A press release is the absolute perfect opportunity to be reporting those supporting facts and statistics. When people see numbers that look good, it becomes an undisputed fact that what you’re presenting is worth their time.
A press release is a proclamation—it’s you vouching for something and presenting it in such a way that does a decent job of convincing people, so it goes without saying that you need to back up what you’re saying. Many people will read your press release, looking for proof of the claims. Be sure to include them whenever applicable.
Provide website and contact information
Since a press release is only a short document (two pages maximum), you don’t have all the room in the world to present everything you may want to say. Including a website URL or offer your contact details for the reader to gain “more information” about the topic.
You should also be including the point of contact’s contact information. This means a phone number, business address, business email, and any other applicable information, such as social media.