Copywriter’s Guide: What to put in your press release

Newspaper press releasePress releases are a handy tool to help you get some free advertising or to raise public awareness of your cause. Editors are inundated with dozens, sometimes hundreds of these per day. What can you do to make yours worthwhile? Answer the following questions:

What is it?

Quickly! What are you pitching? Don’t throw in a bunch of superlatives, get to the point. You have three seconds, if you’re lucky.

Why do we care?

Is it newsworthy? Will the lives of my readers be changed by hearing about it? Seriously, what makes you or your thing so special? Why should I drop everything and read about it? Get me excited – but not by using hard-sell or exclamation points. No tricks, just facts. Cool facts. Sexy facts.

Your press release should get an editor excited without the use of exclamation points. Click To Tweet

Answer these questions for each publication you submit to:

  • Is it timely? Does your event/product/service apply to a current need or speak to a recent event?
  • Is it relevant? Is this something that applies to the readers of the publication? If not, why do you think it’s worth sending? It’s really not about you – go for the audience’s interests. Yes, this means that you may have to write different press releases for different publications
  • Did I write it like a reporter/editor would? Remember, AP style and BRIEF – no jargon or extra mumbo jumbo

Who else cares?

Do you have any (brief, convincing) testimonials? Keep in mind that these should matter to our readers (not just you).

Details…

Now is when you tell us the specifics about the date/time/ticket price/venue and – if you must – add all the required legal verbiage that no one will read anyway. Use the inverted pyramid: need-to-know information at the top, details later. Way later.

Double-check to ensure you’ve included the Who/What/Why/Where/When/How, and, for all that’s holy, remember your contact information!

###

If we want more information, you can give it to us later – the idea of your press release is to make us want it. If you are past one page, you have too much copy. Start slicing!

Mélanie Hope is a professional speaker, author, and coach who travels the world teaching greater communication skills while making as many people laugh as possible.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*