5 Tips For Writing A Perfect News Release
Most journalists spend less than 60 seconds reading a press release, and a significant number never bother to use the quotes inserted in them.
So, if you’re working in PR you have to make absolutely certain that your news release stands out and, therefore, gets used.
Your competition isn’t just the thousands of other news releases issued by PR companies across the country on that day – it’s every single line of breaking news from every corner of the globe flying into newsroom inboxes.
The competition for column inches, traditional or digital, is massively fierce.
If you get the basics wrong you’ll seriously reduce your chances of publication and increase the chances of a hugely disappointed paying client asking uncomfortable questions.
Here are five tips to give your news release the best chance of publication:
Make it Newsworthy
Make sure your news release contains something ‘new’ – the clue is in the title ‘news release’. Make sure it contains information that will interest readers outside of your industry. Ask yourself ‘Would I read this?’ Ask yourself what your release contains that will make people care enough to read it.
The Killer headline
We all love a clever pun and a play on words, don’t we? Make your headline sing but not so that it isn’t easy to understand the story immediately. Remember, journalists don’t have time to try and untangle your cryptic headline wordplay – if they don’t get it straight away, it’s on the digital spike and your client will be asking awkward questions. Clever is great, but not at the expense of simplicity.
Don’t Bore Us, Get to the Chorus
Your news release isn’t a novel – so get to the point right from the off. Kick off your intro with the top line of your story. Don’t waste your first paragraph setting the scene or building tension. Your intro should be a single sentence that nails the story, loudly and proudly, leaving no room for doubt.
Too much narrative is the death knell for news releases. Journalists do not want an elongated explanation of your client’s historic credentials – they want statistics and hard facts. So give your product or story a firm statistical foundation whenever possible. If you’re highlighting a new trend, you’ll need to support that claim with figures. It’ll make your release more compelling and, therefore, more likely to achieve publication.
Short & Sweet
A typical news story is around 12-14 paragraphs long – that’s about 300-400 words. So present your press releases in the same, concise, manner. Give journalists what they want in a familiar concise style – written in a format they’re used to – and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of coverage across the board.
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