At first, writing a press release may seem like the easiest, quickest bit of copy you’ve ever penned. However, if you’re a green business writer, attempting to promote your company while “writing objectively”, you may not fully understand the nuances and subtleties the master press release writer uses to influence a given audience.
The following tips should leave you with a better understanding of how to develop a persuasive and legitimate-sounding press release.
Ensure that your headlines offer a succinct and impactful description of the press release. Ideally, the press release headline should contain the information that the release is built around, and it doesn’t hurt if that information is what appeals most to readers. Written a different way, this could mean that your press release should be built around the most compelling piece of information on offer.
Similarly, the sub-headline should add a little (or a lot of) zing to the headline and further entice the user to read your press release. While headlines are important, it’s equally important that the sub-headline compliments the main head and doesn’t provide a conflicting or contrary notion.
Remember, a press release is intended to promote your company image or product an indirect manner. Blatantly promotional copy can get you in trouble, especially if your organization is big enough to interest mainstream media. So, keep your POV firmly in the third person, and be objective while adding discreetly peppering the text with a few shiny adjectives and descriptions.
Pander to the masses and keep your copy short and simple. If your press release ends up looking like an excerpt from a science journal, find simpler words to explain what you mean. The public and media will cherish you for it.
Another reason narrate the document in the third person is that journalists and media persons who pick up the story, will want the bland facts arrayed in a simple and easy-to-absorb fashion. They don’t want to wade through heaps of flowery language to get at half hidden kernels of truth.
Include a quote or two from a senior executive that speaks specifically about the subject of the press release – don’t use the term ‘spokesperson’. Instead, type out the executive’s full designation. This will add the weight of officialdom to your document and will show readers that your company takes all company news seriously.
Ensure that your press release isn’t longer than 350-450 words. While most people will simply skim through the barest facts, at least the few who read the entire article will be spared the misery of a long, boring read. If you find a 300 word limit too meager to encompass the prodigious benefits of your product launch or announcement, then include a call to action that invites readers to visit your website or social media page, where liberal quantities of information about the event/product can be found.
Give it an interesting angle. See, the point of a press release is to give the media useful and important information to be published. Even if you have no important or useful information to release, you can still garner some great publicity by writing out a press release that portrays your company doing an old thing in a spanking, brand new way.
Add an image. I know the typical version of is a black and white, text-only document, but honestly, there is no rule that says you can use pictures too. An image will help flesh out exactly what you’re trying to announce while adding character, flavor and visual appeal to the document.
Don’t use a press release to slander your competitors. Any comparisons to rival products or enterprises can start a media war and will most definitely show your company in a bad light. Now you may gain some publicity from a libel war, but it’s never the good kind, and is liable to damage your reputation in the long run.
Include your contact information and a short piece about your company at the end of the press release. This is called a boiler plate and will help readers gain a better grasp over what your company does and the brand image you hope to cultivate.