Writing a press release doesn’t have to mean hiring an expensive PR firm. You just have to know the basics and how to approach it from the perspective of editors, journalists and media folks that receive hundreds a day. If you want yours to make it into the “yes” pile – here are some easy to follow steps on how to write a press release.
Create a catchy hook
Make sure the information is newsworthy. Try to relate the release to topics and trends already found in the media, community, nation or world. The topic must be chosen first but the catchy hook phrase is sometimes easier to choose after the release is written. (Try to raise eyebrows)
Write for your audience
Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it. The audience is the media and neighbors in the community.
Start with a brief description of the news
Distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.
Remember Cliff Notes
Ask yourself, “How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?” You are writing the cliff notes to a story.
First words matter
Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language. Do be creative, many times editorial staff will copy their story directly from the release. Try to keep to one page. Incorporate known events or other media that has included the practice this will build value.
Just the facts + customer experience
Deal with the facts. But never forget to create an experience for the person reviewing the release. When using products Or new technology always copy directly from the web site or quote from the manfacturer or representative.
Add a quote from a client or someone outside the story as well. If new technology or products are being used be sure to include quote from the manufacturer or rep and have them present at the interview if possible.
Include a bio
The bottom of the release should always contain a small bio see the example below.
Dr. Lynn Jones first felt her calling to become a dentist in 1968, the year she graduated from high school, and coincidentally in a time when the guidance counselors at her high school (as well as the men of the dental industry) advised her that “women did not go to dental school…”, because it was “A career too demanding for women who needed time to raise children”. Instead she was advised to become a dental hygienist. When she graduated from the University of Washington hygiene school in 1972 with a BS degree in dental hygiene, to her disappointment the equal rights amendment for women had not passed, however something significant for women did – Title IX. Title IX basically said that if a school program accepts federal money, it must give equal opportunities to women. Out of the 100 students that were accepted that year, only 18 were women, including a Lynn Jones. At a time when the school had not yet made proper adjustments; they shared a locker room with the male classmates, the female restroom was in the patient waiting area, many instructors refused to speak to them, as well as male students who constantly told them they did not belong there. As a result the women in Lynn’s class banded together and became very close. They all felt a great responsibility to future woman students to do well for fear that privilege would be taken away from them. Amazingly, all of the women graduated in the top half of their class. Since then, Lynn formed the summit AACD affiliate chapter of cosmetic dentistry where they combine high-quality lectures with hands-on experience and patient treatment for comprehensive care. She also teaches microscope hands-on courses for dental meetings and for the Newport Coast Oral Facial Institute. Today, Dr. Jones’ patients are given a red carpet treatment of their own, at her practice located in Downtown Bellevue in the Hyatt Building of the Bellevue Collection. “The amenities at our dentist are great, but it’s her kind heart that have kept us loving her all these years. She really is living proof that if you want to believe in something, all you need to do is believe in yourself first. Hey not to mention Dr Jones and I love chatting about Yoga together!” patient Mary Bridgeforth says with a laugh. “She’s so cool ya know”
Provide as much contact information as possible
Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.
Always have a cell phone number for contact when sending release.
Make their jobs easier
Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.
Guest post written by Lori Pacchiano:
With humble beginnings in her grandmother’s garage Lori is a Seattle based author and the Founder of the Luxury Pet Brand High Maintenance Bitch. Sponsoring the Emmy Awards and Golden Globes since 2004 with a hit series on BRAVO TV that aired in 72 countries and went into Syndication on Animal Planet making HMB one of the most publicized luxury pet brads in the world. Seen on thousands of publications from NBC’s The TODAY Show to Dateline.
Eventually Lori began helping other entrepreneurial friends in their pursuit to be showcased in the media with her clever releases and relationships. Lori is responsible for creating some of Seattle’s most well known PR campaigns including independently creating all of the media for The Seattle Seahawks Guinness Book of World Records Campaign lead by Joe Tafoya and a client list that includes Edgar Martinez, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch CBS Beastmode, Russell Wilson receiving the Sean Alexander Award, Cooper Helfet, Joe Tafoya, Jordan Babineaux’s Shaquille O’Neal’s Comedy Tour, Lawyer Milloy, Gene Juarez, “The Real Christian Grey”, Captain Keith Colburn of The Deadliest Catch, Mama Sherman, Alex Isaly celebrity fitness trainer NBCSN and her dog Texas who is acclaimed in the news as “the most famous dog in Washington.”
Lori is a humorous down to earth speaker who will be sharing a 30 minute presentation on creating a unique press release with a hook, photo preparation, identifying your existing audience, shaping a story around “hot topics” in the media, leveraging partner brands, the order of media outreach, creating media partners and pitching stories.