Tips on how to get the most out of your writing and boost campaign reach
What is a press release?
A press release is a piece of writing that is issued to journalists, usually via email. They contain information about a PR campaign or potential news item, with the aim of convincing the recipient to use the information provided to put together a news story, therefore, boosting the campaigns awareness.
What’s the importance of press releases?
The importance of a strong press release cannot be undermined in the world of PR, it is a really useful way of getting journalists on board with your campaign.
It’s also a great way to build credibility with journalists over time. Even if your press release doesn’t get picked up straight away, consistently providing high quality press releases will ensure journalists are forced to consider your work when sourcing stories.
To guarantee your press release is covered by a journalist, it must stand out. After all, according to score, nearly 15% of journalists receive upwards of 400 business emails a day!
Aspects such as the structure, vocabulary and topic of a campaign are all factors which can influence a journalist to piece together a story from your press release. Therefore, it is important that the material remains relevant and the point to make sure it is read.
Here at Shout Bravo, we are constantly putting together press releases as we aim to boost brand awareness for specific clients.
In this article, we have put together some of the most important things to remember when writing a press release but also areas to avoid to ensure you get the most out of press releases.
What is coverage?
In order to get the most out of your campaign, coverage is vital. Coverage is the publicity your campaign gains, this can be maximised through journalists publishing stories in online and print publications, they give your campaign a level of reach unattainable without a journalist’s intervention.
This can be the difference between an impactful PR campaign and an unnoticed one. However, to gain the possibility of some coverage you will first have to convince a journalist that your idea is worthy of writing about.
Essential aspects of a press release
One of the most important things to include in your press release is a catchy subject line, this will be the reason a journalist opens your email to begin with.
Therefore the headline should be eye-catching but relevant to the material in the press release, it needs to be engaging enough to draw the journalist in and make them want to read the rest of your release.
Including impactful, usable quotations can also be a determining factor to allow your press release to be picked up by a journalist. This makes your campaign more newsworthy and engaging, in turn making it easier for a journalist to produce a story from the material provided.
Another tip is to use punchy, short sentences which jump straight to the point and supply the relevant information.
It provides you with the best chance for your material to read, busy journalists will not waste time on a press release packed with waffle as they simply don’t have the time.
Lastly, an essential element to include at the bottom of a press release is a ‘note to editors’. This is a way of providing some extra background information on your client, contributing context whilst giving even more material for the journalist to include.
It’s a great way of making your release look well researched whilst ensuring it is packed full with the relevant details!
Things to avoid when writing your press release
An obvious thing to avoid, but a press release with spelling errors and poor structure very rarely gets picked up by journalists.
To convince someone to cover your client or campaign, a strong writing ability and easy-to-read structure are two of the best ways to boost credibility.
It’s also sensible to avoid repeating information already provided in the on-site copy, if including similar sentences or paragraphs these must be rewritten to sound different and avoid duplicating content.
Maximising the effect of your press release
Now breathe! Once your press release has been written and the hard part is out of the way, the overall impact of it can be maximised by who you choose to target it to.
Depending on the topic of your campaign or industry your client operates within will determine the category of journalists your press release is aimed towards. For example, a press release written for a holiday client would be best aimed at travel journalists.
The use of a well put together media list can make this a really quick and simple task.
A media list is a document that lists all relevant journalists’ contact details; these media lists are put together individually and may differ from campaign to campaign as certain themed press releases are best targeted towards specific journalists.
The importance of targeting your release to the relevant journalists is paramount as journalists who have a longstanding interest in the topic/industry are more likely to take you up on the offer.
Overall, writing an engaging press release is a learning curve, remembering the basics is vital from the beginning but your writing style and structure as a whole will improve in time with practice.
Take the time to read back through your press release before sending it out to potential journalists, making sure the information is enough, relevant, and well laid out in an easily accessible way.
Lastly, remember that journalists receive hundreds of press releases each week, or even day, so don’t be put off if the responses are few and far between. It’s all about standing out and providing that little bit extra whilst remaining relevant and on topic.