The Press Release, an Essential Tool for Communications
Just as Bob Dylan has his guitar, Ray Charles his piano, and Ginette Reno her vocal cords, the PR professional has their press release. When it comes time to announce news, launch a product, or an event, the press release is an essential tool! But you still need to know the basics so it can be read and shared. In this article, we explain all the steps to follow and give you tips to become a real pro at press releases!
Step 1: A Catchy Headline
The title is the first thing journalists will see. It should be short, no more than 75 characters, and summarize the main information in one phrase. It also needs to be eye-catching. Indeed, if your title doesn’t catch the journalist's eye, there’s little chance they will read on.
When addressing journalists, their interest is not to promote your product, but to engage their reader. To ensure that the reader takes their rightful place as the subject of the story, put the reader at the forefront and show how your news is interesting for the journalist’s audience.
It’s also recommended that the title of the press release follow this format: punchy action verb + catchy main information + company name.
To complete what a short and impactful title cannot say and to enhance the information, it’s customary to use a subtitle.
Step 2: A Concise Introduction
Journalists receive dozens of press releases every day. To facilitate their work and stand out among other news, your first paragraph must clearly answer the 5Ws (Who? What? Where? How? Why?), which we’ve already discussed in another article.
However, don’t be too brief. In fact, the introduction must make the journalist want to continue reading and learn more about your subject. For example, add some storytelling (the art of telling great stories to be persuasive and memorable). We advise using it to contextualize your release, anchor your news in current affairs, or propose an angle the journalist can pick up in their article.
Step 3: Structured Paragraphs
It's well known that in a press release, there often are many things to say! Therefore, it's crucial to organize information by order of importance. The central elements of your topic should be found in the first lines of your text. The additional details will follow in the rest of your document. To illustrate this organization of information, the inverted pyramid model is often used. Also, it is essential to avoid writing overly long or complex sentences. You risk losing your reader after just a few seconds.
Don't forget to start your press release with a quote from a spokesperson of your organization. Avoid overly corporate quotes that add nothing to the text. Instead, think about highlighting your human side, providing additional information, and bringing out the personality of your company.
Our advice to help you with the structure of your press release: separate your ideas with subheadings. Firstly, this will help you to gather the information you want to communicate in a coherent way. Secondly, it will allow journalists, who are often in a hurry, to quickly understand what the press release is about by glancing at the main elements of the text (title, subtitle, subheadings, and lead).
Step 4: An Effective Conclusion
At the end of a press release, you must keep your reader engaged. To make them want to learn more about your news, it is important to write a strong conclusion with relevant information that will make them want to go further and explore the topic with you.
Some General Rules:
Finally, when writing your press release, several unwritten rules should be considered. Here are a few:
- The press release should not exceed 1 and a half pages.
- The writing should be in the third person, never in the first person.
- Introduce your company in an "about us" section at the end of the press release, not forgetting the link to your website and/or your social media channels.
- The contact information for your in-house contact person should be indicated so that the journalist can reach out if needed for any information related to the subject.
Writing a press release is an art. As with any artistic practice, even with an innate talent for writing, it takes practice to succeed in producing an effective and concise piece. At tök communications, we have a black belt in press releases. So let us help you and give your news the recognition it deserves. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll talk soon for more advice!