Press releases as not as difficult to write as we think they are. All that needs to be taken into consideration is the audience and the main message we want to deliver through it.
Before we start writing a press release, we should know the following:
- Journalism is a busy career with deadlines and several tasks. When you offer journalists something easy, they rush to use the press release as their story and then head to work on anything else.
- Journalists are not experts in your subject. Therefore, you will have to explain everything in details. No matter how expert the journalist you are referring to is, yet they have to know everything in order to deliver the right message in simplest ways.
- Journalists only care about how interesting the subject you are offering is and by how much readers it will interest.
- Your subject won’t always be in headlines. It may sometimes be the hit article of the day, but when it doesn’t, you must know that it is not the journalist who decides that. Don’t forget, journalists also seek to have their stories mentioned as top news.
Based on the above, we can conclude that there are some requirements for press releases:
- It should not exceed one page, and should be written briefly.
- No documentations should be needed to support it. In other words, the person reading this press release has to understand the whole subject so they can write a brief article with enough details.
- The language of a press release should be simple. The audience reading the article should be definitely taken into consideration. Do not write unimportant things, unless the subject you are writing about requires a bit of jargon.
- The press release has to include a story to tell. The story you want to tell should be clear for the journalist while reading, or else, he/she will come up with a different story they create.
- It has to have some information about resources that can be referred to by the journalist if the latter wished to write more detailed article. You can mention your phone number/email, references, websites…
With time, press releases have evolved to rest on a standard structure:
- A title/headline for the story: it should be brief, straight to the point and possible to be used as headline on social media. It should deliver your story’s value to the reader.
- A first-paragraph summary that includes the main message (who, what, where, when, why) as short as possible.
- After the introductory paragraph, 2-3 paragraphs should follow clarifying the story and including a quote from an organization’s senior explaining the effect of the story.
- Finally, write a conclusion summing up the key message.
At last, you need to submit your press release via email to the journalist, taking into consideration the following important points:
- The subject line of the email: it can be the headline of the press release. Make sure it has a clear idea about the email, or else, you cannot guarantee that it won’t be deleted.
- The press released should not be an attachment. Make sure you send it in the body of the email. Do not forget that you will be doing your best to make it easier for the journalist.
- After sending the email, call the journalist to make sure the email was received. You might have the opportunity to get some notes to improve your story for next time.