In my last blog post on press releases I mentioned that I would give you some tips on how to write a press release. So here is that information:
When you write a press release it should have the following:
- Date and where you are.
- Body of the press release
- Boilerplate statement
- Contact information
If you’re writing your press release confident that you’re going to get free publicity or you’re doing it more because you want to build up authority and backlinks to your website you should still follow this formula. Because who knows, if you do this right you may get picked up.
So when writing a press release here’s the main things you should be doing:
Get Attention Fast!
The opening of your press release must clearly and quickly get attention for your news. You only have a few seconds to get a person’s attention so make sure your headline and opening sentence are very attention grabbing.
Name Yourself Or Product/Service
Early on in the press release you should name your product, service or who you are if it’s relevant.
You should not include any hype or exclamation points in your press release. Your press release should not look like an ad. Sometimes an organization will just publish a press release as is. But they will never do that if it appears to be like an ad. Or if the writing is not very professional. So write professionally when creating your press release. Or get the press release written for you if you’re struggling.
Write In Plain English
Don’t use insider words or jargon when writing a press release. Use plain English and use words that a 12 year old could understand. If you’re in a technical field and have to use technical words make sure you limit them as much as possible.
Find The Story
When writing your press release you need to constantly ask yourself whether anyone would care about what you’re writing. If they wouldn’t then don’t put it in. Your press release needs to highlight something new and provide useful information to your potential audience.
Don’t Use Clichés
Do not put things in your press release like… “we are the best” or “you’ll get great customer service.”
Find A Hook
If you can, tie your press release to a current event or a recent study…or a trend or a social issue then you’ll get a lot more publicity for your story.
Link To Your Website
In your press release link to your website with keywords. For example, if your website is about fishing lures then somewhere in your press release you should link from the words fishing lures to your website.
Don’t Give Away The Full Story
After people read your press release they should be left wanting more. If you don’t do this then people may read your press release and not click the link to go to your website.
In your press release you must remain understated and avoid all hype or exaggerations.
When writing your press release you must limit the words you use to make the press release as factual as possible. So instead of writing something like…
“This valentine’s day xyz company is celebrating the day by giving every customer a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”
Put it like this…
“XYZ company is giving away a bouquet of flowers to every customer this valentine’s day.”
Every sentence you write you should see if you can cut the word count down.
Get It Proofread
Before you put up your press release make sure you get it proofread because once it’s up you can’t edit it when it’s out on lots of different websites. Make sure it’s “right” before making it live.
Anytime in a press release you have the words I, we or us it should be in a quote e.g.
“We made the commitment to become the leader in xyz technology and have now been certified as the best in our class.”
Ok, let’s now look at some of the specifics of writing a press release starting with…
When you write a headline for your press release it must provide information and get the reader’s attention quickly. It must also make the reader want to learn more.
The ad writing principles I have taught you in past lessons apply here BUT it must be more reserved copy.
You should make your headline less than 170 characters and you must capitalize the first letter of Every Word Like This.
It’s also important that you use the keyword that people will search to find information like you’ve got in your press release.
This is just a paragraph that follows the headline and gives a brief overview of your story. This should be about 1 to 4 sentences in length. In this summary you should include your company or product name. Or even your name because sometimes distribution outlets will only have the headline, summary and a link to your press release.
So a) you need to have the summary paragraph and b) you need to include your business, product/service or your name in the summary.
Date And Where You Are
You simply need to include the date and where your company is situated.
The Lead Paragraph
In the first couple of sentences of your press release you should be stating the news in simple and easy way to understand. The first paragraph should cover most of the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” type of questions.
The Body Copy
This is where you tell your story in more details. What you’re doing though is providing the reader with interesting information. But when you’re doing this you need to keep the tone neutral and objective. It’s a press release not an ad!
The length of the body copy should be about the 600 word range. But it can be as short as 300 words. So don’t put in extra words to bulk it up. If your body copy is 300 words then so be it.
In this section you want to…
- Add proof to support any claims you’re making
- Add interest with stories or quotes
- Add statistics, charts etc.
- Have links to your website
In the final paragraph of your press release you want to summarize the key points of your release. Plus you can include information where the reader can find out more about your product or service.
A boilerplate statement is simply a statement about your company or organization that does not change. It’s an “about your company” type of statement.
This is simply a way that anyone can reach you if they want more information about your story. You can include an email address, website, phone number, physical address etc.