5 things I’ve learned about writing an effective press release

In a world inundated with information, it’s getting harder to get the attention of journalists just by providing a press release. However, the humble press release still remains an essential part of building an ongoing relationship with the media. Press releases are still needed to make announcements, alert journalists to new developments, or provide the media with opportunities to interview you or your business spokesperson.

press release

Over many years of writing press releases, I’ve learnt a few things that may help to maximise their effectiveness.

  1. Firstly a press release must be newsworthy. This means one needs to find a news angle that positions what you need to say in the most relevant way. You need to frame your announcement or statement in a way readers will want to know more. A catchy headline that hooks the reader can be a big help here!
  2. While a Trojan Horse approach may work well in a blog post it won’t in a press release. As they say, you need to “keep the main thing the main thing”! Like any newspaper article, you need to provide the key facts in the first paragraph and then elaborate, layering the information in order of importance.
  3. Always provide good quality pictures. This reduces a journalist’s workload so they don’t need to find images to illustrate the story. This may be a positive factor as to why he or she will publish your release, even if they only use it as a caption story. Link them to an online press kit where they can choose an image that works best for their format. If you have a video, be sure to provide the YouTube url.
  4. You can send out your release via a newswire which will increase the chances of it being used but I have found that less is more. Rather send your release to a select group of journalists. Send them a personal email with the release in the body of the email removing the additional step of having to download an attachment.
  5. Just because you are a good business leader or communicator doesn’t mean you are the best person to write a press release. Rather outsource your press release to a professional writer especially if they are knowledgeable on the subject matter. You may also find that they have key contacts in the media to help you get your media release published.

If you would like help with writing a press release or sending it out to the right media outlets, I will do my best to assist you. Please email me at al@countdowncreative.co.uk.

You can also see the PR Services Countdown Creative offers.

Al Gibson

The founder of Countdown Creative, Alistair Gibson is an expert communicator who has learned how to harness principles of traditional journalism with the power of today’s digital media platforms. He has lived in Devon for 15 years and worked in Plymouth and Exeter.

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