Have you written an awesome press release but it’s not getting the attention and traction it deserves? Knowing where you went wrong and actually getting your press release out to the world can be difficult, which is why we’ve created this short guide to making your next press release newsworthy!
1. Make Sure You Know Your Stuff
While this may seem pretty obvious, you’d be surprised at how many writers try to target the most popular and currently relevant topics, and try to write a press release about them without having much prior knowledge. This inexperience will unfortunately shine through the content, regardless of how good of a writer you are – it’s practically impossible to pull off an interesting and informative press release about a topic you know nothing about. This is particularly common with freelance writers that don’t usually work for the company they’re writing a press release for, so pay attention if that’s you!
Instead, try finding a niche that you know quite well. Even if it’s not the most popular topic in the world, you will definitely catch the attention of prominent news distributors within that niche if you can prove your knowledge and dedication to the topic. People interested in that niche will be looking for news about it, so don’t worry about being forgotten just because you’re not trying to appeal to mainstream media; and you never know, your press release could be the one to skyrocket a niche into the public eye!
If you happen to know quite a lot about archaeology and ancient history, for example, try producing some press releases about the latest developments in the archaeological industry or cover a field recent study conducted by a reputable university. Your prior knowledge will help you to flesh out the press release without filling it with fluff, resulting in a high-quality, newsworthy press release.
2. Target A Specific Industry
Going off our previous point, once you find a specific niche or industry that you know a lot about, stick to it! Create a number of different press releases that are quite similar, but different enough to appeal to a large range of news distributors and editors operating within that industry.
Remember, when creating a news release, you’re not writing with a target audience in mind. You’re creating content that can be adapted by a number of different businesses and people to suit their specific audiences, so sticking to one topic will increase the chances of your press release being accepted and widely distributed.
If you create news releases about different, singular topics and try to send them off, you’ll be met with many more rejections. It’ll be difficult to get your content to more than one news distributor, since multiple agencies can’t reuse the exact same content, and you’ll be stuck in a loop of trying to suit your writing to one specific audience.
3. Be Informative, Yet Concise
Frankly, nobody wants to read a news release that’s 15 pages long. All of the best news releases are relatively short and packed out with the most important information, without wasting any space on fluff or filler words.
An easy way to stay concise in your press release is to focus on answering the Five W’s and One H: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Once you’ve answered all of those questions, you’ll usually find that the topic has been covered pretty thoroughly. However, if there is still some more information you want to add, evaluate whether it’s really necessary, and use concise language if adding it in.
Make sure to stay away from adding your personal opinion into the press release unless it’s specifically required from you. Press releases are meant to inform news distributors about your topic and convince them to use your research in their publications, so any unwanted personal opinions may hurt your credibility.
4. Use A Specific Headline
Again, since you’re writing for news distributors and not a specific target audience, you’ll need a headline that will convince these agencies that your story is worth writing about. It’s their job, not yours, to come up with catchy headlines with puns or clickbait, so stick to the facts when creating the headlines for your news release.
Most news distributors will use the headline and first paragraph or two of your press release to determine whether it’s a topic worth writing about. If you mess around too much, trying to impress them or seem like a flashy writer, they’ll probably reject your press release.
For example, an ambiguous headline like ‘Pitch Perfect’ may be great for the actual article or blog post, as it leaves enough mystery to entice readers into clicking on it. However, a press release headline needs to immediately inform readers what the content is about, so include as much information as you can – e.g. “City Council Installs New Turf Pitch”.
5. Be Professional
When writing your press release, you need to make sure to remain completely professional throughout. This means that everything needs to be written in third person, but still needs to be focused on the company’s or brand’s point of view. Take a look at the examples below to see what we mean.
If you’re writing a press release about your company (or the company that hired you) signing a new deal, you need to phrase it like “[Company Name] has just signed a new deal for X amount of dollars”, instead of “we’ve just signed a great deal”.
If your press release is about customers being dissatisfied with a company, and the company apologizing to these customers, you can’t just write something like “customers were angry with [Company Name]”. You need to take on the perspective of the company, and include phrases like “[Company Name] understands customer concerns and is taking action”.
These differences may seem insignificant, but distancing yourself as the writer from the information included in the press release makes you and your company appear much more professional. Most of the time, news distributors will quote your press release directly, without editing the grammar or form, so you need to make sure the content is representative of the company’s reputation.