Your press release has one sole objective: encouraging a response from a journalist.
So, your start-up is ready to launch. Or you have a new product or service to introduce into the market. Your product, pricing and distribution channels are in place. Now you are looking at promotion. Chances are you would have decided on your advertising and PR strategy. But have you crafted that perfect press release? Getting good media coverage is extremely important for your business.
Your press release will give details of your company, the product and any USP of that product or service. A well-written press release will pique the interest of journalists and propel them to cover your product/service or company in greater detail. After all, you don’t want to be mentioned in a column along with a whole hoard of products or services. You want an article or a segment of TV coverage. And for that, it’s important to craft your press release in an engaging fashion.
So here are some tips to write a press release that will grab the eyeballs of journalists.
1) Have a catchy headline: The headline needs to grab attention immediately. This is what will prompt the recipient to read further. But do ensure your headline is not merely click-bait; it should be relevant to the topic.
2) Craft a hook: Yes, the catchy headline should have a hook, something that will make the journalist sit up and take interest. Remember, your press release is all about pitching to media houses.
3) Get to the point in the first para: Unless the reader is told right away what the press release is about, he or she is not going to waste time hunting for it. Media outlets are inundated with press releases; they do not have the time or the inclination to search. Address all the important points in the first paragraph.
4) Make it concise: Keep your press release short and to the point, so that the person reading it can understand the key message quickly rather than having to wade through reams of unnecessary information. It should be one page, max two; keep the paragraphs short and have lots of white space. Chances are, if your press release is rambling, it will go straight into the dustbin! No kidding.
5) Include facts: If you are introducing a product that you feel addresses a trend in the market, back it up with figures. If your product has certain attributes, mention those. It’s not enough to say you have a ‘fabulous’ product or that your product is the best or that it caters to a particular void in the market. Journalists work with facts not hype
6) Add quotes: Quotes liven up a press release. Quote yourself or a market influencer. Make sure the quotes are quote-worthy though! Don’t bung in quotes for the sake of including them. They should take the narrative forward and add value to the press release.
7) Add your contact information: You might think this is so basic and wonder why this point is included. Well, many press releases come without contact info. You need to give all the contact info – email id, address, telephone number – so that an interested journalist can contact you if they want to take the story further.
8) Include photographs and videos: Make sure your product is highlighted in the photos. Spend some money to get a professional photographer to take the pics. If you are launching a product that needs a demo, take a video and include a DVD with the demo for journalists to get a clearer idea of your product.
9) Give access to more info: While your press release should be a max of one or two pages, you can add extra sheets with info on your company. You could also provide links to your website, Instagram page, etc.
10) Make the content engaging: This doesn’t mean adding too much fluff, but it also means that the press release needn’t be a dry, boring narrative. Make your language appealing.
11) Make sure it’s grammatically faultless: A badly written, error-ridden press release will find its way into the bin. And give a negative impression of you and your business. Make sure to proofread the matter for spelling and grammatical mistakes. There is no room for errors.
Remember, your press release has just ONE goal: prompting a response from a journalist. When crafting it, keep that in mind. Condense the nitty-gritties of your message down to one sentence that answers the 5W’s of reporting – who, what, when, where and why. With an appealing hook and a good product/service, your press release could elicit a positive response.