Content of the Press Release
Keep the following points in mind while writing your press release.
Is your news “newsworthy?”: The purpose of a press release is to inform the world of your news item. Do not use your press release to try and make a sale. A good press release answers all of the “W” questions (who, what, where, when and why), providing the media with useful information about your organization, product, service or event. If your press release reads like an advertisement, rewrite it.
Start strong: Your headline and first paragraph should tell the story. The rest of your press release should provide the detail.
Not everything is news: Think about your audience while writing the news. Your story has to be interesting to grab attention. Let’s assume that you have just spent a lot of effort to launch a new online store. Announcing your company’s opening is always an exciting time for any business, but the last thing the media wants to write about is another online store. This is old news and uninteresting. Instead, focus on the features of your online shopping experience, unique products and services. Answer the question, “Why should anyone care?” and make sure your announcement has some news values such as timeliness, uniqueness or something truly unusual. Avoid cliches such as “customers save money” or “great customer service.” Focus on the aspects of your news item that truly set you apart from everyone else.
Does your press release illustrate? Use real life examples about how your company or organization solved a problem. Identify the problem and identify why your solution is the right solution. Give examples of how your service or product fulfills needs or satisfies desires. What benefits can be expected? Use real life examples to powerfully communicate the benefits of using your product or service.
Stick to the facts: Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments and exaggerations. If your story sounds too good to be true, you are probably hurting your own credibility. Even if it is true, you may want to tone it down a bit.
Pick an angle: Try to make your press release timely. Tie your news to current events or social issues if possible. Make sure that your story has a good news hook.
Use active voice: Verbs in the active voice bring your press release to life. Rather than writing “entered into a partnership” use “partnered” instead. Do not be afraid to use strong verbs as well. For example, “The committee exhibited severe hostility over the incident.” reads better if changed to “The committee was enraged over the incident.” Writing in this manner, helps guarantee that your press release will be read.
Economics of words: Avoid using unnecessary adjectives, flowery language, or redundant expressions such as “added bonus” or “first time ever”. If you can tell your story with fewer words, do it. Keep it concise. Make each word count.
Beware of jargon: While a limited amount of jargon will be required if your goal is to optimize your news release for online search engines, the best way to communicate your news is to speak plainly, using ordinary language.
Avoid the hype: The exclamation point (!) is your enemy. There is no better way to destroy your credibility than to include a bunch of hype. If you must use an exclamation point, use one. Never do this!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get Permission: Companies are very protective about their reputation. Be sure that you have written permission before including information or quotes from employees or affiliates of other companies or organizations.
Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.