Picture this: you’re on your phone scrolling through your newsfeed and come across two or three headlines with a few company names you’ve seen in passing but on a weekly basis. You realise just how often you see the same names week in, week out and think to yourself how is it that they’re getting their names out there? What are they doing that I’m not?
Does this sound familiar?
Here lies the power of the cleverly crafted press release.
Press releases are one of the most powerful tools that can be used in PR, so it is only natural to feel frustrated when it is not getting the desired and expected media coverage, even after you feel you have perfected an eye catching headline. Here at MediaHQ, we value the importance in creating compelling press releases that go beyond just the headline. Therefore, we have compiled together a list of five tips to follow to give your press release a media boost.
The News Hook
The purpose of a news hook is to grab the reader’s attention, make them curious and create an emotional reaction. It should answer the ‘why’ of the who, what, where, when, why of your press release and make the reader as excited as you are about what your writing. It should also offer a unique angle and build on an element of intrigue to ‘hook’ readers. What are you offering to a journalist that is newsworthy and also differs from other press releases? What makes it relevant? It is essential to ground your press release with a thought provoking hook so as to get readers invested in your idea.
When pitching to journalists it is important to avoid sending out mass emails that are not tailored to the specific recipient. Journalists are outnumbered by public relations professionals by approximately 1:4 so they are undoubtedly inundated with press releases. This makes it all the more important to do some background research and find out what stories journalists are covering and who is writing about the industry relating to the topic in your press release. This will prove to serve you leaps and bounds in getting the media coverage you’re looking for instead of just hitting the BCC button as you have shown that you have taken the time to prioritise your audience by emailing them individually
Timing is crucial when it comes to sending press releases. If it is sent too early it may miss the mark in terms of being understood with sincerity and if it sent too late, people may have already seen the story elsewhere or stopped caring. Usually, the optimum time for sending out a press release is between 8:30am and 10:00am, especially on a weekday with Sunday’s and Monday’s being the best days for national publications. It is also worth calling ahead to establish preferred times to receive pitches if you are pitching stories to local newspapers and local radio stations. Also, it may sound obvious , but plan to be available after sending out a press release so journalists can reach you!
Journalists simply do not have the time to read through essay length press releases. Therefore, it is important to have a clear and concise structure in place to get the point of your story across. The following bullet points offer a template to work from so as to avoid fluff and jargon when writing your press release:
- Short, clear headline that tells the media what the story is about i.e. who, what, where, when, and why.
- Paragraph 1: Sums up the main body of the press release in a few sentences.
- Paragraph 2: Explains why the story is important and puts it into context.
- Paragraph 3: Details on the present
- Paragraph 4: Shows where people can find more details, buy the product, attend the event or get involved.
- Paragraph 5: The boilerplate i.e information about company that journalists can include in the news item.
Being confident is an aspect of your personality that can come across in your writing. Instead of simply conveying the facts, writing with the intention to inspire your readers gives you a zest that can distinguish you from the plethora of others that are also aiming to catch the media’s attention. It gives yours press release writing style and flare when you write from a position you feel passionately about that the reader will remember. It matters that you care about what you’re writing as indifference and a lack of interest can be conveyed in your work that readers can pick up on. A sense of authenticity is a key ingredient when looking for good media coverage