By the Small Business Insights team
You’ve got the story. You know who you want to reach. But you don’t know where to start when it comes to writing the press release. Sound familiar?
Don’t worry. You’re probably not alone. If you’re like most small business owners, marketing and public relations is one of the many hats you wear on a day-to-day basis. And it’s likely not your core area of expertise.
So what separates the right press releases from the wrong? These six simple rules:
- Get to the point – fast. Never assume that a reporter will read your entire release. Research shows that readership usually starts to fall off around the fourth paragraph. So make sure you’re answering “who,” “what,” “when,” “where” – and most importantly – “why” at the very top.
- Keep it brief. A good rule of thumb is to keep your release under one page. Remember, journalists are looking for you to get to the point. So state your news in the first few sentences, reinforce it with key sub-points and a quote in the middle, and end with any other supporting details that are relevant to the topic you’re communicating.
- Don’t promote! Using over-the-top language that’s focused on selling your product or service – rather than providing the news behind your company – is the fastest way to turn off the media. Stick to the facts and leave opinions for quotations from experts, using them only to underscore the newsworthy information you’re sharing in the release.
- Practice good – make that perfect – grammar. The second fastest way to turn off a reporter is by using incorrect grammar. So make sure it’s perfect. All the time, every time.
- Back up the news with numbers. There’s no better way to add credibility to your news than through hard numbers. It quantifies your argument and makes your story all the more compelling.
- Include your contact information and a boilerplate. As obvious as it may sound, including contact information is a common oversight among novice press release writers. Equally important to listing a phone number and email address is a boilerplate – a two to three sentence description of your company. This should explain who you are and what you do, without the sales pitch, and should include your website and any social media platforms where reporters can access more information.