Press releases are a communication tool that have been used (and abused) for years. At Bailey Gardiner we are extremely selective about when we write and send out a press release. And while they aren’t as common as they once were, they aren’t going away any time soon. The following are my five tips for writing an effective press release.
1. Don’t bury the lead. Key information of a story is often placed somewhere in the body of the release – put it first.
2. For quotes sake. Quotes should only be included in the release if it adds value. Some companies and clients will insist on quoting the CEO, but unless it’s saying something you can’t otherwise state in the release, skip it.
3. Just the facts. Press releases are a place for news and facts, not fluff and sales language. Sales materials exist for a reason and absolutely serve a purpose, but the excessive use of adjectives and fancy copy doesn’t belong in a news release. It will immediately turn off media and discredit the company.
4. What’s the news? Be sure what you really should be writing is a release and not a pitch, media alert or business brief. A press release is used for a variety of reasons, but should not be the ‘catch all’. Evaluate the information and newsworthiness and guide your client or company appropriately. Sometimes people simply aren’t aware there are other options.
5. Get to the point. I am a big believer in short succinct releases. One page is great, two pages maximum. If there is a lot of background, analysis or data that needs to be shared a great way is to hyperlink in the release to the company’s website where this information can live. It’s a terrific way to drive traffic to the website and it doesn’t bog down the release at the risk of losing the media’s interest.
Trust your PR instincts and if you don’t find the news your sharing interesting, it’s likely the media won’t either.