Companies often need to get information out to the public. A press release is an excellent tool to do this, as it allows you to reach many people quickly.
However, writing this type of announcement is a difficult exercise for those who do not master the formula. For this reason, the leaders of a company prefer to entrust this task to a communication agency. The latter are aware of the best techniques to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation.
Despite the rise of social media, press releases remain the tool of choice for journalists every year, according to a study by Cision, the leading public relations and influencer software company.
The press release is the traditional method preferred by journalists. Because the news relationship is primarily about "relationship", it is about establishing a relationship of quality and trust between the news source and the journalist.
Whether you want to outsource your press relations or do it yourself, it is essential to know the best practices. Check out our guide on what to include to make your statement more credible and useful to the public.
The press release: Definition
A press release is an official announcement from an institution to the media. This process is ideal for informing the public of a product launch, the opening of a new branch or a change in management.
But be careful! There is a distinction between "news" and "press releases". Indeed, the latter respect a precise structure and have three main objectives:
- Inform the general public;
- Attracting the attention of journalists in the hope that they will write a full story;
- Help promote the brand on the Internet through sharing via blogs, websites and social networks. It is a powerful way to generate traffic to a website, as it appears long enough in the search results.
This type of article usually follows a press announcement. Companies can contact bloggers and web journalists about their new products. Moreover, when well written, it contributes to reinforce the credibility and reputation of a company.
The basic recipe for a good press release
First and foremost, you need an important news story. Journalists are looking for news that will grab the attention of readers. So it's important to make sure the information is interesting to the public.
Once this is determined, it is time to add a good dose of sauce to make the release even more enticing for the audience.
A striking title
As with blog posts, the headline plays a crucial role in a media statement. It's clear that journalists receive dozens, if not hundreds, of news stories every day. They'll be all the more likely to publish yours if they deem it newsworthy.
In the example above, the focus is on the amount of the award received by the researchers. This is more likely to attract the public than the award ceremony of the Institute for Research in Contemporary Economics. Can you see the difference?
So, work on your headline to captivate journalists. Make it catchy. Avoid long headlines and make sure it fits in one line.
The 6 essential ingredients: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How
Above all, remember that journalists are very busy people. Therefore, the ad should be written in a synthetic way to reflect the essential information.
Following the rules of journalistic writing, this type of press announcement answers the following questions:
- Who. Where does the information come from? Which company is involved?
- What. What is the news to spread?
- Why? What is the purpose? Why should the reader be interested?
- When. When will the event be held?
- Where. Where is the company's headquarters? If it is an event, what is the location?
- How. How useful is this information to the public?
Season with numbers or statistics
Have you noticed that many article titles contain numbers? Bloggers and journalists have understood this. Readers like objective data, because it adds credibility to the information.
But, these should not be the core of your release. Use surprising statistics to support an argument. If it's a new product, perhaps you can demonstrate its performance with numbers?
Bring a personal touch
A press release often includes a quote. Of course, the quote should emphasize the main point of the information. In addition, it is preferable that the person quoted be at the management level, to reinforce the credibility of the statements.
Another option is to invite influencers or experts to speak for you. This strategy adds an objective touch to the whole statement.
In addition, it is an excellent tool for brand management. Don't forget to include your company's logos and name, so that it contributes to the promotion of your brand. You can also place them at the top, on the right, or at the bottom of the page. It's up to you to determine what you think is most appropriate.
Engaging the reader
If you want to advertise a new product, add information such as where to buy it or what's available. In other words, it is important to allow the reader to act.
Also be sure to include press contacts. They may want to conduct an interview. Make it easy for them by indicating the people responsible.
Practical tips for writing a press release
Once you've written down the recipe, it's time to get to work. Follow our practical tips to make it even more effective.
Speak the language of the journalist
Although intended for the general public, the press release should contain some specific elements for the journalist.
If you want it to be made public at the time of sending, use the expression "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE". But it is also possible to postpone the publication by mentioning the desired date of release.
Finally, end with FIN or ##. This indicates the end of the document that there is no more information to add.
Writing in the third person
Except for direct quotes, the entire text must be written in the third person. In other words, there is no room for "I" and "we". Keep a professional tone throughout the ad.
Writing for the reader
Even if it goes through the media, the reader remains the main target of this type of ad. Put yourself in the audience's shoes: what topics are they really interested in? What language do they speak? Limit technical information or the reader may be bored.
Since this is a media piece, focus on the essentials. It may be tempting to go back to an internal context or to clarify a previous situation. But precision is essential in a press release.
Also, readers respond better to objective information. Avoid qualifiers like "the best" and avoid adjective overload. This way, your text will be more credible to the audience.
Remember to proofread
It is important to repeat: all communication is part of the brand image. All the more so since a press release is intended for wide distribution.
It must be captivating, pleasant to read and, above all, impeccable. Be sure to do several proofreadings before sending it to journalists. You can also use suggestions from your colleagues to improve the content.
Last little tips
Once you have sent your ad, follow up with the newspaper. This personal touch will help you develop better press relations over the long term.
Moreover, once published, distribute it to your customers and prospects. You can integrate it in the weekly or monthly newsletter. Share it on social networks. In short, use all the means at your disposal.
A press release is more than a simple information tool. It is a major element of your digital marketing strategy. Once you understand the basics of these techniques, you can finally use them effectively!
As a content strategist, he brings a coherent brand message to the public. His multiple angles of approach allow him to integrate his marketing skills to identify customer needs and propose the best products and services.