By David Landis and Andie Davis, LCI
Ah, yes, the press release. A public relations professional’s bread and butter. Every public relations practitioner has experience writing press releases, but how many fall into the trap of being a bit too formulaic? Probably more than we would like to admit.
In public relations, our number one goal is to earn coverage for our clients. Will the same old, tired press release format catch a reporter’s eyes? Probably not. LCI believes everyone in PR should play at the top of their game, which is why we compiled a list of 15 foolproof tips to make sure your press releases are in great shape.
Here are 15 steps to successful press release writing:
- Do your research. Find the news. Don’t just cut and paste information from elsewhere. Verify the information.
- Include your client – and the event date/time – in your headline.
- Make sure your client – and a link to their URL – are included in the first or second sentence of the press release.
- Use the “inverse pyramid” style of writing: most important news and information at the top of the release.
- Start the release with something that will grab the reporter’s attention: a statistic, question, news trend or data point.
- Think like a reporter: create a real story with your press release. The story should have an “arc”: a beginning issue or problem; a solution; and a call to action at the end.
- Always include a quote from your client whenever possible.
- Make your quotes specific and descriptive, not generic. “We are delighted. . .” is the worst kind of quote.
- Always include a call to action at the end, with a URL/phone number for the client.
- Always use active, not passive verbs.
- Don’t use run-on sentences. If the sentence is more than 2 lines, it’s a run-on. Create two sentences.
- Include photos and videos in your release wherever possible.
- Let reporters know at the end how they can contact you for photos, video or interviews. And add a “calendar editors, please note” section if it’s an event with all the important details: who, what, when, where and cost.
- Spell your client’s name correctly. Check it twice. And then once again.
- Proof, proof, proof before you submit your press release to your supervisor. And check the facts to make sure they are correct. Don’t assume because it appeared somewhere else that it’s factual.
How to Write the Perfect Press Release, Meltwater