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How to score points with perfect press releases

This tutorial will help ensure that your press releases are read and observed.

Companies have different objectives with their press releases. Ideally, they should increase visibility, positively influence the public perception, and attract the attention of the target audience. Similarly, Online PR aims to achieve a better search engine ranking, to increase website traffic, or to generate clicks. So how do we go about writing the ideal press releases?

Companies have different objectives with their press releases. Ideally, they should increase visibility, positively influence the public perception, and attract the attention of the target audience. Similarly, Online PR aims to achieve a better search engine ranking, to increase website traffic, or to generate clicks. So how do we go about writing the ideal press releases?

The content

A press release is primarily to inform about a piece of news. Whether the opening of a new branch, the engagement of new personnel, the launch of a new product, the announcement of an event or award, the occasions for press releases are many. The press release has more in common with a piece of news rather than say, a report. It is essential to inform quickly and concisely about a topic so that the reader can get an idea of ??whether the event is relevant to him or her. Ideally, the subject of the press release is new, special and has a sufficiently high news value. Certainly, the press release should have a core issue. To pack all kinds of rambling information about a company in the article is counter-productive, as are full details of any issue. Instead, the press release should accurately and briefly report on a particular subject. Facts and figures that underpin the content are welcome.

Some of our customers also stipulate things that should not be mentioned. These may include prices, delivery terms or names of competitors for example.

It is also helpful to have information about where the press release will be published, such as on a specific press portal or in the press section of a website. Usually press releases will be sent via e-mail and distributed via the Internet.

Consider this: As soon as a press release is available on the Internet, not only can journalists access it, but also potential customers as well as the competition. Therefore, it is very important that the article be stylistically geared to the actual target group of the company. Online press releases should contain the appropriate keywords so that media representatives and interested parties can find the text on the net. Therefore, many customers want search engine optimized press releases and adjust their keyword targets accordingly.

The structure

Press releases should be structured in a way that makes them easier for the readers to capture their intent quickly. They should contain the following components:           

1. Headline:
Journalists receive a daily barrage of press releases. Therefore, it is important that they immediately see from the headline what it's about. Be descriptive enough that the impatient reader can quickly grasp the subject. Therefore, the real issue should be mentioned already in the heading, which should also contain important keywords.

2. Subheading: Whether a subheading is used or not is optional. It should be used to break up the information neatly and concisely if necessary.

3. Place and date: The press release always starts with the place and date (e.g. London, 4 March 2016). This can be adapted by the customer as needed.

4. Lead-in: People have limited time and patience, what with the large number of daily incoming messages. Therefore, the first paragraph is the most crucial part of the press release. It should answer the most important information and the essential W-questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?). Two to three sentences should suffice. The first paragraph should be written so that it could be published as a short individual message.

5. Flowing body text: The body should contain any further critical information and should be clearly divided into multiple paragraphs and containing one or more sub-headings, as specified in the briefing.The information in the text should always go from most important to least important as journalists often stop reading after they have the information they are looking for. Thus, the reader does not have to laboriously dig through mountains of information to detect the actual statement.
Quotes are important because they bring the text to life and underpin the statements of your text.

6. Company and contact details for further information: Each press release should end with contact information of the company and to a person where interested parties can get further information. The customer should add this information to the press release after it has been redacted.

Language and style

Even if you cannot always control the content of a press release, you should still always look at language and style, as it will often be professional journalists with a critical eye for the written word who will read your article. Press releases should therefore be accurate and linguistically correct.
Although many objectives of PR and marketing are simultaneously covered, a press release is not an advertisement. Do not use promotional language, but write as neutrally as possible. Superlatives such as "premium product" have no place in writing of this genre, as they would get in the way of the informative nature of the text and negatively affect its credibility. A factual and informative text in a journalistic writing style is the right way to go.

Of course it makes a difference if you are writing a press release about a cool hip hop festival or the best tips for a yacht purchase. The style should be tailored to the particular industry and target audience. If there are no stylistic details in the briefing (such as “youthful, casual”), you usually cannot go wrong if you use a serious, journalistic tone.

Make sure you use understandable, accessible language and vocabulary appropriate to the target group. Write short and concise sentences. Be as active as possible. Normally in the press release there is no direct addressing of the reader unless otherwise indicated, so write the text in the third person singular.

Conclusion:

Every company wants to achieve a positive buzz about themselves within their target group with their press releases – an ambitious goal.

Even if they don’t always prove immediately successful, good press releases influence a company's reputation with key players and influencers. After all, whoever can regularly make themselves heard will generate greater long-term interest and increase their own prominence.

If your press release has a meaningful title, has answered the main W-questions, is informative, understandable, accurate and optimized for search engines, it will be happily read and observed in the digital age.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful and wish you many successful press releases.


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