If you can’t afford the services of a PR expert either by employing someone to work in-house with you or on a freelance basis then why not have a go at doing it yourself?
This week I will be sharing top tips on how to write a press release and next week I will tell you how to pitch it right to have the best chance of getting your story published.
So the basic rules of how to write a press release are really very simple. These are what I call the fives Ws.
Who, What, Where, When, Why and sometimes How. So really it’s the five Ws and one H – sometimes!
Who – who is the story about. A person? A product? A business?
What – what is the story about? What is the news angle?
Where – where is it happening? Where is the event, launch etc?
When – when is this taking place? This is very important as the story needs to be new and relevant so the answer should be this week or this month.
Why – it’s important to build context around any story. Why could be an occasion or celebration or a new product launched to meet with demand.
How – like I say, How doesn’t always need to be included but if it is then How gives you the opportunity to offer a bit more detailed information about the story you are telling the journalist about.
When you are putting together the press release it’s important to get your fives Ws in the first two paragraphs if possible. Remember journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day so make sure yours pack a punch straight away.
Also, journalists are very busy so make their job easier by writing the press release in the style of a news story – if you get it right they might just cut and paste your press release straight into the news pages. To do this you must write it in the third person. Here’s an example.
The Dean’s Hotel has launched a Silver Jubilee Afternoon Tea to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
The hotel in Woking will be serving up its first afternoon tea to local Major, John Jessop, on Friday 25th March – exactly a quarter of a decade since the four-star hotel first opened.
So you see in the first paragraph I have covered who, what and why and in the second paragraph where and when.
A press release should also include a quotation from someone at the organisation to explain more about what’s happening and you must remember an eyecatching headline too. On some national newspapers there are people employed just to write headlines – it’s not as easy as you think to get it right.
Photographs must not be forgotten either. A picture tells a thousand words so make sure you have one or two to hand to accompany your press release. These must be available in high resolution for print media, although you might want to include a smaller, low resolution image, on the press release.
Finally, remember to include your contact details. Media will often ask for additional information or photographs and they need to know who to come to for it.