How to write the perfect press release

Posted: Wednesday June 10 2020

By: Abbie Coleman

It’s without a doubt one of the most common questions we’re asked – how do you write the perfect press release?

How to write the perfect press release

By Katie Mallinson – Scriba PR

Of course, it helps to have the knack, otherwise everyone would work in PR! However, whether you’re a natural writer or not, there are a few simple steps you can follow to produce something which receives fantastic coverage.

We’re not going to tell you all our trade secrets of course, but we hope these 10 tips can help you when it comes to drafting your own press release.

  1. Know your angle

Before you put pen to paper – or fingers to keys – it helps to establish your angle, what is your press release about? A new product or service, a company milestone or perhaps a charity initiative? Make sure the subject of your press release is newsworthy and not just promotional chatter.

  1. Know your audience

It helps to write a press release in a tone that your target media – and their readers – will appreciate and understand. Try to familiarise yourself with the type of content the publications usually publish, and avoid using technical jargon which will be lost on their readers.

  1. Pick the perfect headline

Remember, the headline is the first thing a journalist will read, you should try to sum up the press release but make it snappy and attention-grabbing. If the angle of your press release is region-specific, include the location. If it’s industry-specific, ensure you cover that too. Some writers find it easier to leave headlines until last – find what works best for you.

  1. Remember: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN, HOW

The answers to these six questions will ensure you cover absolutely everything in your piece. Sometimes, gathering all the information, in simple bullet points to begin with, helps you then pull the press release together.

  1. Find the facts

Including evidence and figures in your press release are a great way to add both detail and credibility to your press release. Avoid using subjective content – which could be deemed biased or promotional – and instead include statistics or other facts which a journalist can’t ignore.

  1. Include a quote

It helps, when drafting your press release, to include a relevant quote if possible, in order to engage with the reader. This could be from a managing director – if an acquisition has been announced – a new client securing a contract or a fundraising manager speaking about a worthy cause. If you do include a quote or testimonial, it’s courtesy to obtain the author’s approval before using it.

  1. Avoid waffling

The general rule of thumb is to try to write no more than a single side of A4. Of course, some press releases require more detail, and/or the story may be so significant that it merits longer content. But usually one page is enough. If your photograph does the talking, then the press release may be short and sweet – much more succinct than a side of A4. That’s okay too. In fact, ‘picture stories’ make for great coverage as well.

  1. Pick a pic

On that note, try to source a professional, relevant and eye-catching photo that will expand the content of your press release and, if published, make your content stand out. We’ve repeatedly been told by journalists that, if there’s only space for one final story, it’s often the photo that clinches it!

  1. Proof reading

Always allow time for thorough proof reading at the end to avoid grammatical errors, typos or clumsy word repetition slipping through the net. Enlisting a second pair of eyes is useful in ensuring absolutely nothing gets missed. Make any necessary amends, before hitting send.

  1. Keep on schedule

It helps to calculate when you would like to send your press release to the media – and work backwards from there. If you know the content will have to pass several approvals before issuing, start writing early. The last thing you want after all your hard work, is to miss an editorial deadline or a key business milestone.

We hope our tips will come in handy when it comes to drafting you own press release, and if you’re still not convinced, get in touch with Scriba PR today to see how we can lend a hand.