By Imogen Eaton
Having just started out in the world of PR, I have been looking at the key components of what makes a good press release. As part of my journalism studies, we looked at what makes a good news story and essentially a good press release should cover the same key points. Below are a few points that might be helpful if you are new to PR and looking for a little guidance.
What is a press release?
Without wishing to state the obvious, a press release is a formal company announcement, similar to a news piece, designed to bring new information to the attention of the editor or reporter of your targeted press. It generally publicises company news relating to anything from new products or services to recent surveys or statistics and accomplishments, sponsorships and new partnerships (see our SPACEMAP for ideas on what can make a good news story). Press releases tend to be short, punchy and to the point, although writing styles can vary across industries just as they can across various newspapers.
Use your head, use your headline
The editor reading a press release will need the key information as quickly as possible. This means that the headline is imperative. Here at Mexia, we believe the headline should be the hook. Tailoring the headline to suit the targeted publication or type of media is very important. It should immediately provoke interest and draw the reader in.
The five W’s
The lead is an introductory paragraph of the press release or news story. This should be no more than two or three lines long (as brief as possible) and should contain the reputable journalistic ‘five W’s’. This means your release should contain the who, what, where, when and why of your story immediately in the first few lines.
Check out our six tips in the form of our ‘Press Release Pirate’
P otential- each release should ideally have the potential to be developed further, be that into a feature or opinion piece or simply another update to the initial piece of news.
I nterest- the information must capture the interest of not only the readership but most importantly the editor of your targeted publication. It will need to immediately catch his/her attention.
R elevant- always prepare with a specific publication in mind, making sure that the information you convey is relevant to them and be sure to choose an appropriate angle.
A ccurate- make sure every piece of information is 100% accurate, always verify quotes and statistics.
T imely- ensure that the press release is sent at the optimum time, meaning it will be most beneficial and produce the greatest coverage for your company or client.
E ssential- only include the essential information and nothing more, keep it short, sweet and to the point.