When I began drafting press releases more than a decade ago there was really only one consideration – how would the information appear in the newspaper? That may sound a little harsh, but often when it comes to TV or radio the news editor wants a sound bite from the spokesperson you are representing they don’t want to read from your press release. Now, you’re not just writing for print, but you’re also writing for online content too – and that’s a whole other ballgame. The headline you write for a newspaper will be significantly different to the one you write for the web, for example.
So, how do you combat this? Well, when I launched Gem PR & Media three years ago I began writing content for individual media outlets, whether radio, TV, print or online. A few tweaks here or there can make all the difference. This is definitely something to think about.
If you’re a complete novice, or it’s been a while since you drafted a press release, here are 10 things to take into consideration.
- Make sure you cover the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story
- Provide a title – ensure you adapt it for different media
- Write a great intro
- Provide contact info for the company’s spokesperson (and yourself)
- Don’t bury the lead – that never works
- If you need a sponsor included in the published version weave this into the quote (from your spokesperson)
- Don’t use jargon - Joe Blogs on the street needs to be able to understand what it is you are saying
- Don’t cap up job titles or roles - the only people that deserve caps are the Queen, the President, and the Prime Minister
- Include a release date
- There’s no need to rewrite War and Peace – a press release should be clear and concise – I try to keep mine to 300/350 words
When drafting and issuing a press release make sure you are a) writing for individual media platforms, b) providing all of the salient details and, c) communicating clearly with your audience.