How to write a press release.
This week on the Abbey Information Exchange, we seek PR advice from Zebra Marketing & Communications. They tell us how to write and distribute our own press release. Read their step-by-step guide below.
A press release is a great way of promoting your company, its products and services to a much wider audience. Once shared by an online or print publication, it can be seen by hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people, which can be highly beneficial to a business.
Here are our top tips for writing a press release, to help ensure its success:
What’s the story?
Is your story about your business? Are you launching a new product line? Have you raised funds for a charity? Or have you partnered with another business? Alternatively, is your article promoting information and advice, such as a ‘how-to’ guide or product style ideas? Once you know what your story is about, you can begin writing.
The first steps
Include your logo and state it’s a ‘PRESS RELEASE’. You then need an attention-grabbing title. This should be something which sums up your press release whilst giving a clue as to the story behind it.
Putting it together
When creating the main body of the article, it’s important to keep the five Ws in mind – who, what, why, where and when – and of course, don’t forget the ‘how’. These should all be covered in the opening paragraph to ensure you provide the editor with all the salient points of the story from the off. Subsequent paragraphs then give you the opportunity to expand further.
Who is the focus of your press release and who will it benefit?
What is new or what is the news you are announcing?
Why are you announcing it now?
Where: where is your company based, where is the event happening?
When: when will the new product be available, the event happen or the new appointment start from?
How: How did this develop?
You may also want to include a quote from a relevant person in your company – and if the press release concerns another company or person, you might want to include a quote from them too.
The final paragraph provides the call to action and an opportunity to include some contact details and a link to your website. Signal the end of the press release with the word ‘- Ends -’ in bold.
A few more things
After the press release, include ‘For further editorial information, please contact’ and provide a contact person’s name and email address, as well as telephone number in case the journalist needs to get in touch for further details. You can also include a company summary in a ‘Notes to editors’ at the bottom.
List any accompanying photos and their captions at the end of the press release. Also caption the image file with the same name, to provide consistency. Between one and four images is advisable to accompany a press release.
The image should be of a high-res, good quality; clearly showing those involved facing the camera. Images should be around 1MB in size (these can be compressed on your computer). Include your logo within the photo where possible. Make sure you have permission from those pictured to share the image, especially from parents if young children are pictured.
Seal of approval
Once your press release is finished, it’s extremely important to gain approval from anyone involved and mentioned in the press release, especially anyone who is quoted within it. Make sure you receive their permission to be quoted. You can ask them to submit a quote to you for inclusion, or you can draft a comment on their behalf for them to approve.
Know your audience
Now that your press release is ready, it’s time to send it out to the media. This could be to your local and regional news media, as well as specialist press such as particular magazines in your sector or those which will benefit from learning the contents of the press release. If your news could have an impact on a countrywide scale, it might be of interest to the national press. Contact details can be found on every publication’s website.
You’ve got mail
To send your press release, attach and include it in the body of your email. Ensure the email subject includes ‘Press release’ and then add your press release title. Address the journalist by name and then include a short summary of what the press release is about. Personalise the email to make it more relevant for them, such as drawing attention to the fact it’s about a business in their sector or based in their area if it’s for a local news journalist. Attach your accompanying images, and it’s ready to send.
Don’t worry if you don’t receive a response; send a gentle reminder after a few days to help get your press release featured.
So long, and thanks
Once it’s been featured in print or online, follow up with the journalist and thank them. They will look more favourably on further emails and stories from you in the future, leading to more coverage and more business for you.