Sales, Marketing and Communication

How to write an effective press release

A well-written press release decides whether your message reaches the public or not. The trick is to write it in a way that makes reporters pick up the story. Most people know that a well-written press release is important for gaining access to the media, but several things can mess it up.

  • Perhaps you don't know how to find the good stories in your company?

  • Perhaps you don't know enough about how the press works?

  • Perhaps you are afraid that you'll lose control of your story?

Below, are some guidelines on how to set your inner journalist free and start telling the company’s great stories to arouse the interest of the press. You'll also find a simple template for creating your own press release.

Your story must meet the journalistic criteria of newsworthiness:

Timing
Tell something that is happening right now and not five years ago.

Significance
The story needs a certain degree of significance in order to be interesting to the public. For instance, your story is relevant if it touches a large group of people; executives, unemployed, young people, entrepreneurs, etc. It can also be significant to the public debate.

Unusual
If your company have a special story to tell, then do it! We all become fascinated by that which is beyond the usual.

Identification
The public must be able to identify with your story, because it increases the empathy. This is also connected to significance.

Conflict
A story that contains a conflict generates attention.

An exercise to help you get started

Based on your own company find a general story that you'd like to present to journalistic media.

Get as many criteria of significance into play as possible and also think about where and how your story can be launched. Then think your way through this process:

  • What could be the journalist’s interest in this story?
  • Call the different media and notify the journalists. Check which journalists who've previously written about your subject.
  • If possible, discuss the option of an exclusive story.
  • Offer to help if clarification is needed.
  • Write the press release and send it.

Before you start writing, be aware of the following pitfalls:

  • Don hide anything.
  • Be honest about your story – all the way through.
  • Be careful not to staged reality.
  • Be accessible if journalists wish to speak with you.

A press release is constructed like this

Headline: Must reflect the relevance and surprise of the story. It catches the attention and, in most cases, it's the headline that sells the story. That's why it's important spend some time, when creating the right headline. When you've happy with the headline it's easier to write the story.

Subheading: Is short, 2-4 lines, and is a summary of the story to make sure the reader knows what the story is about. It elaborates the headline and you have the opportunity to entice the reader even more.

Opening: Is meant to give the reader some tangible information. The earlier you answer the following, the sooner your reader will identify with the story:

Who is taking action – who does something?
What they are doing?
Where they are doing it?
When they are doing it?
Why they are doing it?

Body text: Is for elaborating the information you've given you reader. Insert a quote from the company because it creates credibility and makes the story come alive.

How they are doing it?

What happens next?

Rounding off. Finally, briefly present the company who is sending the press release. This might make the recipient want to know more.

Contact information. At the bottom of the page include contact information of the person the press can contact if they have further questions.

Follow up on the press release

When you've sent your press release follow up by phone after a couple of days. Maybe your press release has been tossed or maybe the journalist or the editorial secretary haven't gotten around to do something with it just yet.