Behind the Scenes: Writing a Press Release

30 October | 2017By Claire AuzanneauInsights

We are often asked by clients to get coverage off the back of a news release detailing a new product announcement or a recent business acquisition or perhaps a new customer win.

And we have definitely encountered an organisation or two that is keen to churn out news release after news release.

Now, you may well be wondering what the problem with this might be. Well, to put it bluntly, most journalists and outlets have no interest or use for what they perceive as ‘empty’ corporate press releases because, sadly, it’s not just not newsworthy.

Don’t get me wrong, we fully understand how important these releases are to a business. Not only do they inform stakeholders of your developments and play a valuable role as website content, but we would urge clients to think twice about whether they constitute as news. Could they for example be re-purposed into social posts and employee blogs to help drive engagement.

If, you are keen to raise awareness of your brand in a meaningful way, secure top-tier trade and/or national coverage and engage your media audiences, these announcements simply aren’t going to cut it. What you really need is a story.

As PR specialists, it’s our role to work with our clients to get to the heart of why they offer the products and services they do. We work to find the problem that our client is solving and build a story around that. Only once a story has been identified and developed are we confident we can secure high quality coverage.

So how does one create a press release that will do just this? Below are our top four tips for writing a great press release:

1. Keep your goal in mind
You need to treat a press release as a purposeful document with a single goal: to elicit a call back from a reporter and this is where the storytelling comes in.

2. Consider ‘do’ vs. ‘applaud’ press releases
Either your organisation did something amazing and it is worth telling the world about, or you are applauding something—possibly someone else’s achievement—so you can “bask in reflected glory.”

3. Fit it all on one page
Write short paragraphs and embrace the white space. The point of a press release isn’t to give journalists everything, it is simply the bait with which to lure them. So tell them about it, but don’t tell them too much – leave that to perhaps a follow up briefing either face to face, via the phone or email.

4. Be direct in your headline
Clients usually want their name up front, which is great as this style of headline deals with the “Guess what” aspect right away. Also make sure your headline grabs attention.

If you’re keen to raise awareness of your brand in a meaningful way, why not drop us a line? We’d be happy to help ensure your business is telling the right story. Contact paula@c8consulting.co.uk today.