This just in: if you want good coverage for your product or service, you’re going to have to master the art of press release content writing. Today, a great press release is not one that inspires an article, but one that is an article. Look at it from the recipient’s point of view and you’ll quickly understand why. Most reporters or news agencies receive hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases a week. It stands to reason that the articles they’ll run are those that practically write themselves.
This is good news for you, because if you spend a considerable amount of time carefully crafting content that presents your brand in an engaging way, it’s nice to know little to nothing will get watered down or lost in translation.
How Would a Reporter Cover Your Story?
Before you even get started, jot down what comes to mind about stories in the media that grab your attention. Chances are they’re things you haven’t heard before or help solve a problem you’ve been experiencing. Then take a look at the topic you want to present to the world and ask, how would a reporter sum this up in a 10-second spot? Voila! You have your angle, and your headline.
Where to Begin
Prior to drafting your press release, ask yourself these simple questions to determine just how newsworthy your story is:
- What’s so “new” about my story?
- Are there unusual or unexpected angles I can capitalize on?
- Will people actually care about and benefit from this topic?
- Is this a topic that’s also interesting to those outside my industry?
If you’re unsure as to whether your story is worth putting out there, take a look at other stories in the publications you’d like coverage in to determine if there might be interest.
Attention Grabbing Headlines
Writing killer headlines doesn’t mean you need to be clever. Journalists don’t tend to base their story decisions on your witty delivery. Instead, based on their knowledge and experience, they’re looking for something that they believe their audience will find interesting. The most important role your headline plays is making sure someone understands what your story is about. A good rule of thumb in press release content writing is to tell it like it is, but with an interesting twist.
Think Like a Journalist
If it pays to think of your press release as a news article, ask yourself the reporter’s five W's (and How) to get started:
- Who are the key players, who does your news benefit, and who does it affect?
- What is new and exciting about your product or service?
- Where is your launch or event taking place?
- When will it happen?
- Why is this story important and what new information is it bringing to the party?
- How is the story going to help the people who read it?
All good journalists know the power of quoted sources, so any you include that provide insight into your news can be helpful. Quotes in a press release are not to provide information or jargon-filled data; rather, they should add depth and insightful opinion to your topic.
Short and Sweet
Keep your press release about the same length as a short news story – about 400 words, and use subheadings and bulleted points for easy digestion. There are free templates you can find online that will help you get started. Include a short paragraph in your email that outlines your topic and explains why it’s a good fit for the publication you’re pitching to. Pay attention to what is and isn’t working and tailor future press releases to what you’ve learned.
Remember that journalists are besieged with press releases every day, so it may take some trying to land the coverage you seek. Ultimately, everything you need to know about great press release content writing is this: have a product or service that is of true value, and produce meaningful content that conveys its worth to a waiting audience.