Your Press Release Writing Toolkit
Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Writing the Perfect Press Release: Tips and Resources
I know that raising awareness of your ethical business is top of your priority list. Getting featured in the press can be tricky, though, and a great press release will give you a head start.
If you’ve never written a press release before, here’s a guide to how – with some helpful resources to make life easier.
Firstly; you need to know what you’re writing.
The 'WH' structure
· WHAT is your story?
· WHY are you telling it now?
· WHO is your audience?
· WHERE are you sending it?
· HOW will you put it together?
· WHEN will you send it?
If you’re not sure how to format the press release, compare a few style sheets for different types of press release online.
Smartsheet has a good selection.
Freelance UK has helpful tips to structuring your press release too.
The hook is the information you’ll use to draw your reader in and encourage them to feature you. Put this in your first paragraph. Make sure this is something that journalists will want to cover; you could tie it in with a current piece of news or an event that’s getting media attention, for example.
Create a great headline
Your headline is the key to grabbing a journalist’s attention and letting them know that you have a story worth telling. The trick is to try and compress your story into ten words or less – although it’s easier said than done.
Try this tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute once you have a few ideas – it’s designed to analyse the impact of your headline.
Writing your press release
· Start with your headline.
· Your first paragraph should grab attention and summarise the story in two sentences or less.
· If you’re trying to get TV or radio coverage, remember that a presenter has less than 10 seconds to introduce an item. Most people can only manage 30 words in 10 seconds.
· Be succinct – you can add extra information in notes for editors.
· Don’t use jargon or technical terms.
· Don’t use abbreviations or acronyms without defining them.
If your writing skills are a bit rusty, there are several resources you can use to improve them.
If you find that you keep repeating the same words, find new ones at Thesaurus.com.
Not sure what a word means in the context you’re writing? Check it at Cambridge Dictionary.
If English classes seem like a long time ago – install Grammarly for help with the grammar side of things.
Check readability with tools like Readable and Readability Checker to make sure you’re not getting too wordy.
If you’ve used information from another source, check that you’re not plagiarising anyone else’s writing here.
At the end
Remember to include all the relevant contact information so that journalists can contact you. Describe your company and supply your website, links to other online information, Twitter handle and Facebook page. This is sometimes called ‘boilerplate’
You can add notes for editors at the end of the press release - background information to support your story. This is ideal for giving your full mission statement if you have one.
If you're interested in learning about how you can doing your own PR, and seeing your business in your ideal magazine, or on a leading website or podcast, check out my courses and coaching services.
Get in touch with any questions!