Marketers and PR professionals know the importance of following the format of a press release. However, despite this knowledge, journalists still receive pitches that don’t comply with the standards.
They may be familiar with press release writing, but it is a challenge to apply all the elements needed to have an effective formatting. Here are some rules to follow when writing releases:
- Write an attention-grabbing headline.
Make it succinct, interesting and free from jargons. The headline should grab the attention of the readers.
It should tell what the press release is all about. However, it shouldn’t include all the details, but it should be ready to tease the readers to read further.
The headline should contain the keyword. If you still want to add some details, add a subhead that also includes the keyword.
A great headline can make or break your chance of getting publicity. Journalists impressed with the headline usually lands media coverage.
- It should be written in the third person except for the quote.
A release should have a professional tone, so it should be written in the third person. Avoid “I” and “we,” except for the quotes.
Your release should offer facts and figures. It shouldn’t contain opinions, except for the direct quotes.
Reading a release is like you’re reading a newspaper. To find examples, read newspapers, so you have an idea on how you’ll write it.
- It should not be too long or too short.
Ideally, a release should be 400 words. However, it can be up to 500 words only and not longer than that. It follows the length of short news in the newspaper.
If your release is longer than that, edit it, but maintain its quality. Keep in mind that journalists expect that you comply with the journalistic style of writing.
There’s no need to make your release lengthy. A lengthy news is boring and tiring to read. Keep it between 400 to 500 words to pass the journalists’ requirements.
- Prove why the readers will care.
A well written release should generate the reader’s interest. If not, it is not effective. Always ask yourself before writing it, “Will the readers care?”
You may be excited about the grand opening of your new store, book launching or sponsoring an event for the youth, but your readers may not pay attention to it. How will you pique their interest?
The answer boils down to your announcement being newsworthy. If it is newsworthy, your target audience will definitely pay attention to what you are sharing.
There are a lot of elements to make it newsworthy. You can offer information, new findings, new data or a solution to their existing issues. If you fill in their needs, there is a greater chance that they will read your story.
- It should be free from errors.
A good release with flawless structure is most likely to get noticed by journalists. Even if they used a newswire service to distribute it, their content can easily get approved if it is free from grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes.
- The format of a release is standard.
There is a standard format in writing a release. It is done to offer the readers information efficiently.
- Headline: It must be short, catchy, free from jargons while summarizing the story.
- Subhead: It follows the headline is further details need to be presented. It should enhance the message of the story.
- Dateline: It indicates the city where the story is coming from and the date of the release.
- Lead or introductory paragraph: It is the first paragraph of the release that contains the crucial facts and answers the who, what, when, where, why and how questions.
- Body: The succeeding paragraphs provide further details, including direct quotes, background information the company, statistics, infographics and the call to action (CTA).
- Boilerplate: It talks about who is issuing the release. A short paragraph provides information about the company, such as what they do and what they offer.
- Source: The brand name of the company issuing the release.
- Media contact: It contains information about the media contact, including their name, phone number, email address and social media handles. They are the one to be contacted by the media for added information or setting up an interview.
Follow these tips in writing and formatting a release to have a greater chance of landing media coverage. If you plan to use a press release distribution service, having a well written news is crucial.
If writing and formatting a story is still difficult for you, you can hire a press release distribution service that offers writing services. Just ensure that you consider your goals and budget first before choosing any company to work with.
Different packages come with various features, pricing and additional features. If they can help you achieve your goals and have a higher return-on-investment (ROI), go for it.