Conveying information through quick means is a must whether you’re running a business or you’re an influencer or celebrity who’s looking to announce his or her next project. One of the easiest and fastest ways to let your voice be heard is through a press release. Of course, even doing this takes some time and practice.
What Is A Press Release?
To put it simply, a press release is a written communication that details information about an event, a product launch, a circumstance, and basically just about any happening that concerns the company or the personality. It’s one of the most effective ways because press releases are brief and easy to digest as compared to other forms of media.
Press releases are given by the company or the entity to various media outlets. These media outlets can then make their own reports about the press release, or send out a copy of the press release themselves.
It’s worth noting that the media isn’t obligated to share the press release. Their choice will depend on many factors including the interest in your press release, the importance of the update you have to share, and many other things. Even if they do publish it, it’s not always a guarantee that people will see your press release as something worth their time.
It takes a special kind of marketer to create a press release that’s worth reading and publishing. There are key elements that a press release will need to have to ensure that it is noticed by people. With six key elements, you’ll be able to make sure that your press release causes as big an impact as possible.
An Eye-Catching Headline
It’s tough getting people to read an article which is why you need to hook them with a pretty eye-catching headline. This is one of the basics of news writing and it applies to press releases too. Without a good headline, don’t expect people to even think about clicking on your press release.
A press release’s headline comes in many forms. Like the body of the press release itself, you need to be concise and direct to the point. You can get creative with the headline but keep in mind that most press releases keep a serious tone. Here are a few tips when it comes to writing a good headline for a press release.
- The right length – Ideally, the press release’s headline should be about 10 words only. It’s important to keep it short so that people are able to read it through in one breathing. You also have to consider that the headline should be long enough to fit on Google’s SERPs so that readers can immediately see what the press release is about without having to click on the link.
- Keep creativity to a minimum – A press release isn’t an essay, a feature, a short story, or any literary work. It is important that you keep a strict tone with regard to the headline. Avoid hyperbole and exaggeration as people and journalists alike hate these. When it comes to wording, you should keep it simple enough for people to understand in one reading.
- Keep it detailed, but not too much – While it is important that your headline has the right details from the get-go, you wouldn’t want to give readers a reason to no longer read through the press release. Make sure that you keep some of the important details inside the body of the press release itself.
- Style accordingly – If you are hoping to pitch the press release to a certain media outlet in mind, then it will do wonders if you stylize the headline in the way the outlet does theirs. This will make it easier for your press release to get approved. If you’re eyeing multiple publishers, then it’s best to stay neutral.
- Do more than one – It’s not easy making a headline so most writers tend to do more than one. This gives them the freedom to choose between great headlines. Moreover, by making more than a few headlines, you can compare them to one another, and then you’ll be able to see which ones truly stand out.
An effective headline can be more than enough to keep people hooked to your press release. Try to practice writing a good headline as much as you can if you want to make the perfect one for your future press releases.
The common mistake that new press release writers make when doing one is that they put it on their mind that their clients are the consumers. However, what’s the truth is that when writing a press release, you are trying to attract media outlets and news websites.
This means your tone should be as professional and as serious as possible. Taking a look at a press release sample will help improve how you come up with the proper tone. They are all about attracting media outlets into publishing the press release in some way on their platform. It’s not about teaching the consumers something new.
As this is indeed the case, it’s imperative that you limit the amount of creativity and figures of speech that you put into the article. Instead, try to focus on detailed, heavy words, and most importantly, phrases that help you market the press release to other media outlets.
The Needed Details
When it comes to the body, you should think of a press release as a mix between a news article and a piece for advertising. While you are marketing to media outlets, you should also keep your mind on answering the important details. In news writing, these are referred to as the 5 Ws and 1 H.
- Who – This refers to the key people who are involved in the event or happening. These may include guests, companies, keynote speakers, and even reference persons.
- What – This basically talks about the event itself. In most cases, this may refer to product launches, upcoming conferences, events, and even updates on a company’s corporate structure. This is usually the main talking point of the press release.
- Why – One of the toughest points to get across in the press release is answering why the update is important in the first place. What can people get out of the press release? It is tough to get this across because you want to let people know why the press release is important without having to sound too pushy.
- Where – This obviously refers to the place where the event is going to take place in. In some cases, this can also be the place where the event already happened. If it’s a specific venue such as an arena, it’s important that you be more precise about the location.
- When – Pertains to the time the event happened or the time the event is about to take place.
- How – Another hard point to answer. It refers to how the event or the happening came to be. This is usually answered by telling if the event is between a partnership between two companies, or even by telling who is funding the event.
It’s worth noting that press releases don’t need all of these answered. Only put in what you think is applicable and right for what the press release is about.
Length And Conciseness
No one likes reading long articles. While there’s no exact length as to how long should a press release be, it’s always better to keep it as short and concise as possible. Ideally, the reader should be able to get through the entire press release in a minute or so.
This is usually a difficult thing to pull off especially when you have to put in a lot of details into the article. As such, you need to brief with regards to how you present the article. Obviously, the most important details such as the event’s information, the location, and time, should be placed at the very top of the article.
Minor details are placed at the body of the article. This could include statements from key personnel and even development from previous happenings related to the entity. By structuring the press release that way, you can guarantee that the reader is able to absorb all of the important details related to the happening.
This kind of structuring is often referred to as the pyramid structure. This basically entails that the hierarchy of details starts from the very top which is the most important and at the very bottom are all just supporting data. It’s also worth noting that since press releases are usually short, you should mostly focus on the important details only.
While short, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should skip on the important details. In fact, a press release should have as many of the important details as possible. You need to be able to drop all of the important information in just a few hundred words. This is why being concise is important.
Avoid putting too many unnecessary words, as well as fluff that doesn’t add any value to the article. Keep in mind that you are here to inform and not to entertain. Being as precise with the details is important so avoid being too wordy. Media outlets are going to be referring to the press release for details too so it would be best to give them the right details immediately.
Press releases are mostly time-sensitive materials. This means you must make it well-known to media outlets and publishers about when they can publish the press release. You can state the release embargo at the top of the press release. Alternatively, you can note the press release “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” if you want it published ASAP.
If it’s an event that people need to sign up for or to save for, then it’s important that the piece gets published at least a month before the event. This can give people more time to prepare just in case the upcoming event is somewhere far off.
The last thing you’d want to do is post about an upcoming event and have the press release published a day before it happens. You can’t expect people to immediately make themselves available for the event.
Photos are not really necessary for a press release but the media outlets you send them to will be appreciative of these. Keep in mind that they are hoping to publish the press release on their end. It would be wise to give them photos to go with the article.
The photos need to be the best quality possible so pick ones that are large and those that have a high resolution. This is to ensure that no matter what platform the photo is published on, it’s guaranteed that it comes out clear.
If it’s an event that has already happened, then make sure to put in photos from the event itself. If it’s about an event that’s yet to happen, make sure to put in promotional materials for the event such as posters, logos, and other materials that media outlets can use to promote the event.
If you do give photos, make sure to add appropriate captions as well. Photos alone can speak a thousand words but with captions, they can speak even more volumes. This would also make it easier for the media outlets to understand what the story is about. If the photo includes key people, then the caption should introduce who the people are.
Don’t limit yourself to photos. If you have videos to share, that would be great too. Keep in mind that by giving these photos to the outlets and publishers, then you are giving them the right to use the photos or videos so long as they give proper attribution.
Press releases are very important if you want word about your upcoming event or product to get around. It does take practice to create a press release that’s effective. When making one, make sure to consider these important factors above as they can make or break your release.