Press Release Makeover: 9 Timely Tips
April 17, 2015
The press release, news release, media release or media advisory…whatever you want to call it… is still a core element of most media relations strategies. Some would argue that the news release is dead in this digital age of social media. I don’t think so. It just needs a makeover. If the idea is boring…if the writing is boring…journalists and bloggers will ignore it or hit delete. If you want to avoid ending up in the electronic wastebasket, be creative. The main thing is to grab their attention.
1. Start with a catchy headline
Take the time to craft an effective title that will make them want to read more.
2. Make it short and sweet
Keep your release clear, simple and brief. If you have a lot of extra information you’d like to share, put it into backgrounders or fact sheets that can supplement your news release.
3. Use good grammar and spell check
Check your news release for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. And, make sure it’s accurate. You’d be surprised what I’ve seen….wrong dates, wrong addresses, misspelled names. This doesn’t give the best impression.
4. Avoid jargon
You don’t need big words and you don’t need acronyms. Why do you want to confuse people? Aim for clarity. You want people to understand what you’re saying. You should also avoid overused buzz words like one-of-a-kind, state-of-the art, revolutionary and groundbreaking. They’re a turn-off.
5. If the quote isn’t sexy, don’t bother.
Quotes can add zest and help media outlets who may not have the time or the manpower to do an interview. But who is going to quote a CEO who starts off saying….”We’re so excited…” or “We’re pleased to announce…”? Boring. Definitively not sexy.
6. Multi-media adds spice
Include images, audio and video to make your release more interesting. Make sure to use formats that are easy for the media to adopt.
7. Link, link, link
Add links to your website and blog as well as all your social media accounts. You can also provide internal links to relevant content. If someone wants to do more research, this will make their job easier and faster.
In the headline and the body of your release, include key words that will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You want your press release to pop up when people search for your keywords.
9. Contacts you can contact
Contact information should be clear. And, make sure your contact is actually available. When I say available, I don’t just mean from nine to five on weekdays. The media could call outside regular office hours. If you want coverage, don’t make them wait and don’t make them work for it. Finally, if there’s no news, just ignore all of the above. You don’t need to write a news release.