You’ve seen enough of them to know that releases don’t always make for the most fascinating read, and some of you might view them as a necessary evil. Even if you’re happily residing in that camp, you probably appreciate their power to formalize announcements and the way they get the word out quickly.
But we’ve seen more than a few bad ones—no names here, we promise—and we’ve crafted thousands in our time and have a few, solid rules we live by.
First, always consider the headline. Make sure your business name/program is front and center. If the release gets republished in full, your headline becomes their headline. Even if not, a reporter will sometimes pull from your headline when crafting their own. The power of suggestion is real.
Your headline should always be active, whenever possible. Verbs provide an anchor and emphasize what’s important.
When it comes to the body, be direct, clear and upfront. The first few sentences need to highlight the “who/what/where/when/why,” even if that feels a bit basic.
Then draw your audience in with meaningful details and a quote or two which actually say something—as opposed to repeating what came beforehand. Feel free to hyperlink relevant sites so anyone hoping to look into things further can do so easily, especially as releases are sent by email. Always include contact information to make follow-ups easy, and remember, the more steps it takes for someone to hunt something down, the less likely they are to bother. That’s a good life tip, by the way.
Lastly, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the only audience for your press release is the media. That’s a misnomer; media coverage should never be your only driver. Instead, look inward and outward in other ways. Consider self-publishing on your own website, and across your owned media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). Blast it out to your employees to keep them in the loop, and send it out to your investors or stakeholders to demonstrate action and instill confidence.
Crafting a great release takes practice, and is far from easy, even with these tips. But that’s why we’re here—to help you take things to the next level.