In this digital era a well written press release is an invaluable communications tool to allow your brand to have a voice. This article outlines the fundamentals of crafting a well written press release and takes you on a step by step journey to ensure your release is well structured.
The first step is to define “who” the release is for, is it about an organisation – an event – a product – a person or a response to a current issue?
Who is the release to be targeted towards is it local media, investors – customers or a specific group of people?
You need to think about what the key message or messages are that will be critical to the reader. This helps to ensure that the critical points make it into the release which in turn will educate the target reader.
Timing is important this is all part of the upfront planning, there are many considerations, such as public holidays. Alternatively if the release is about an “event” for example the release needs to be launched at the appropriate time for the reader to be able to plan their attendance.
You need to know whether the release is location specific, is it local – regional – global? Is there a call to action, can visual assets be included?
The why gives the release meaning, this step of crafting the release helps you to market yourself/organisation from the inside out. This stage allows the author to creatively weave in points of value for the reader and helps bring the points to life. The why is the nucleus of the “artistic spin” and is often the embryo of the what to say in the “quote” section of the release.
The How needs to provoke action, it should be a concise sentence at the end of the release that leads the reader into doing something. (Possibly visitng a website or an event).
The Who Cares is the punch of the release, it should tie everything together, this ultimately makes the release more meaningful to the reader. The writer needs to extract value points to include in the content.
The art of a good title is to be “factual & descriptive” it needs to give the reader clarity. It should be short and include words that might help for SEO. This can make or break the release. It needs to be in large font and bolded.
A subheading should support the title and set the overall writing tone. Marketing type language can be used to hook the reader, it needs to be no more than two lines in italics. This may also be the section where the people/organisation behind the release are mentioned, if they were not included in the title.
A well written quote should give voice and integrity, it’s a way of putting a human face on the release and connecting with the reader. It must be authentic and needs to include who is saying it and their role within the organisation. It needs to be written to give the media an approved statement, that they can use to quote if they write a story off the release. A well-defined quote can sum up the meaning of a release.
This is where the What – Why – How & Who cares points all need to be addressed. As this is the longest part of the release the writer needs to get to the point immediately. If the release does not include a header with the location and month and organisation this can be included.
This is a short paragraph at the end of the press release that briefly explains the company or organisation behind the release. This should include Who you are – What you do – Who you serve and include your value proposition. The same boiler plate is usually used on every press release the company releases and is a controlled statement that is approved for the media to use if they want to say more about your company.
Proofreading is a vital part crafting a release – reread the release, then put it to one side and read it again with fresh eyes. The release needs to have flow and build upon itself from the title, to subheading to body, quotes, closing paragraph and finally the boiler plate. Ensure that Key phrases are used early and often, this helps boost credibility, communications and SEO rankings. All Spelling, grammar and critical content points need to be rechecked.
The organisations logo – Website & media contacts need to be added at the bottom of the release.
Finally peer copy proofing/editing needs to take place. In some organisations the release may be circulated for several rounds of minor edits including being passed through legal.
The distribution of your release needs to be planned. A media target list should be created and followed, this ensures that the release will only be sent to relevant publications. There are numerous ways to distribute a release: PR newswire – PR web – Pitch engine
A well-crafted press release allows your customer and the media to understand the value of your brand and your brands message.