The Dos and Don’ts of Press Releases

One question that is commonly asked is why don’t some news stories get covered in the newspapers and magazines that they’re sent to? Sometimes a story about you, your company, or your staff can seem newsworthy to you, but it may not to others…

With journalists under more pressure than ever before, the demand for well-written, compelling and genuinely newsworthy stories is on the rise. This is why we’ve put together some of our writing tips and the dos and don’ts of what to include, and what not to include in press releases, so that you and your company can reap the rewards.

Dos

Include the five Ws – who, what, where, when, and why? Just because you think that it is interesting and compelling, it might not be to the audience, so a little tip is to always write with them in mind.

Write in third person – no one likes hearing me, me, me. PR is very different from advertising and much more credible, so writing in third person and not bragging about the news is always a great start.

Headlines should be no longer than 10 words and should be compelling enough to make the journalist, and the readers, read on. Don’t mention the company that the story is about, describe what it does instead. For example, DENTAL PRACTITIONER BRUSHES HIS TEETH

Make the introductory paragraph newsworthy and have the hook or angle in there too. It shouldn’t be too long, and should be written in a way that if the rest of the story was cut out, the audience would still know what’s happened or is happening. For example, a local company has expanded its team – you wouldn’t know which company, who they’ve appointed, or why they have, but, you will still know that a company has appointed someone.

Include third party quotes from someone that is relevant to your story and remember that it’s not a testimonial.

Get someone else to read the press release once it is written for another pair of eyes, so that they can try and capture any naughty typos or mistakes.

Don’ts

Distribute to the same people twice – their inboxes are too full as it is and their time is precious, so don’t create unnecessary reading or work for them, it doesn’t prove popular.

Assume that every person will read every word – they don’t. So try not to cramp everything in if it just isn’t relevant to the story or changes it in any way.

Use slang or industry jargon, if a journalist won’t understand, they’re much less likely to run it.

Send to industry titles that are irrelevant to your story.

Put down your competitors, it’s not great to be seen to be doing this as it may cause other businesses to create a dislike towards you or your company because of the way you’re treating others in the market.

Bury third party quotes within massive chunks of text. Paragraphs that are too long and repetitive will not capture the attention of the journalist and readers.

Use hard-to-read fonts, text sizes and spacing. It needs to be clear and concise to the journalist and if it looks messy, it probably won’t get read.

Good luck!

Sign-up for the latest Zen Communications Insight

Simply fill in the form below, you can unsubscribe at any time.

See what Zen Communications can do for you Get Started