How to write a brilliant press release that editors will love

How to write a press release the editors will love

So you’re looking to get your product launch, latest event or key company information out to the public? What better way to do so than to contact some of the biggest and best topical news websites you can think of and get them to help spread the word. Easy, right? Almost.

If you’re hoping to reach out and ask a news publication to generate some buzz for your brand, you’ll need to provide a press release to accompany the news. Some press releases are better than others, and in this article you will learn how to write a press release that editors will love (from an editor herself).

What is a press release? 

Put simply, a press release is an official statement delivered to the news media for the purpose of providing information, creating an official statement, or making an announcement directed for public release.

A good press release will have a newsworthy angle, be timely, cover a trending topic, or showcase your company or its products as award-winning or relevant to the intended reader. 

What should you include?

Writing a great press release is simple. All that needs to be in there is:

  • Who is sending the press release?
  • Why is the information newsworthy?
  • If there’s a time angle to the story (ie: it’s an event), where and when is it taking place?
  • What is the reason you are sending the information?

And you’ll need to get all that in the first couple of paragraphs.

If the journalist is still interested, they’ll probably want to know more:

  • about the company sending the news – what it does, who’s the boss, how long it’s been trading?
  • Some extra newsworthy information – perhaps relevant statistics, turnover of the company what’s really unique and interesting about the product or service you’re writing about

And if they’re still interested

  • They’ll probably want a photograph. And not one that’s tiny, or blurred, or boring … or all three. They’ll want a good quality photograph which is interesting to look at and relevant to the story you’re sending. If you want to gain some extra brownie points, get in touch and ask whether there’s a specific size or format they want their pictures to be in. 
  • If the news outlet you’re sending the story to is online-only, the photograph doesn’t have to be big, but if you’re sending a photograph to a magazine hoping that it will be included in the print edition, the photograph must be high resolution and good quality.
  • AND REMEMBER – if you send a photograph, caption it correctly and attach it to the email as a jpeg. Don’t embed it into the press release itself.
  • If you’re looking to get ahead of the game and send over the perfect photograph without being asked, here an example of a fantastic, captivating image re recently received for a story on the new Cotswolds Monopoly board:

What you should definitely avoid

1. Jargon

Example: “xxx [deleted to save the company’s blushes] has today announced that it has rebranded to [xxx].  The new name and brand identity capture the evolution of the business following last year’s merger, and its vision for the future as it launches a highly differentiated newly combined Customer Lifecycle Intelligence (CLI) proposition.”

Confused? Yes us too.

Remember, attention spans are short, so choose your language carefully.

2. Overly-technical language

Remember, you’re writing to a journalist, not a topical expert. The key to building a good relationship with an editor is making things easy for them. If they have to Google every other word in order to figure out exactly what they’re writing, they are unlikely to boost you to the top of their “To Do” list next time. Keep it simple enough that anyone can understand what you’re trying to say.

Not sure whether the language is too technical? Before you send your piece off to an editor, try running it by a friend or colleague who is not an expert in the field you’re writing about. If they understand, you’re good to go.

3. Acronyms

Just because you understand what an acronym means doesn’t mean that the layman does. If the acronym is essential, make sure you provide an explanation of what it means. Make it simple.

The example here refers back to some press release referenced above:

Example: “…accelerate onboarding through automated and perpetual KYC, AML and credit checks and keep customers for life through proactive engagement and in-life customer care.”

Yeah… KYSee-ya later.

4. Long sentences

Long, run-on sentences can have many negative effects.

First of all, they are visually intimidating and give the impression of a long, cumbersome read. This is not a good first impression to give when you’re asking for someone’s time to read what you have to say.

Secondly, they can often be packed with overly technical information and can obscure what it is you’re trying to get across.

And finally, if a sentence runs on too long it can actually get uncomfortable to read. If an editor is wrestling with the grammar and trying to figure out how to actually read the sentence, they are not likely to retain any of the information you have provided.

Check out this example. Read it once, look away for 5 seconds and then try to recall how much information you can actually retain.

Example: “The Customer Lifecycle Intelligence (CLI) proposition means customers in regulated industries can address many of the costliest, time-consuming and critical challenges by helping them win the right customers based on business requirements and risk appetite, accelerate onboarding through automated and perpetual KYC, AML and credit checks and keep customers for life through proactive engagement and in-life customer care.”

Are you still awake? Yeah, neither are we.

We believe that you shouldn’t have to hold a world record in breath-holding to make it to the end of a press release. Keep your sentences short and your points concise.

5. Promotional content

No matter how informative you make it, promotional content is advertising and a journalist will almost certainly forward it immediately to their commercial team.

Example: “Law firm[xxx]has unveiled a fresh, new brand that will be ‘the launchpad for more growth and success’ and ‘reinforce its commitment to excellence and client service’.”

This is not news. It’s promotional.

So, how long should a press release be? 

Journalists often have hundreds of press releases dropping into their inboxes every day.

If a press release is waffly, hasn’t got an immediately newsworthy angle or headline, is about something they don’t understand, or has lots of acronyms, they are less likely to use it.

The perfect press release will be around 600 words long, with all the first six bullet points in, plus a fabulous, captioned, photograph.

If your story can’t be condensed into 600 words, don’t worry – if it’s really interesting, the journalist will read on. But more than 800 words and they’re likely to press delete.

 So … what is a great press release?

So, given all of the information so far, you’re probably wondering what a perfect press release looks like.

The example below has got everything a journalist needs to write a story and follow up on more information if necessary.

The Cotswolds Rocks, says Queen’s Award-winning digital games entrepreneur

Talent, creativity and sex aren’t just for the city, they’re in the Cotswolds too.

A new campaign called Rock The Cotswolds has been launched to showcase the region’s creativity, boost inward investment and encourage more people to look again at an area which is often discounted as being dull, chocolate-boxy and tweedy for serious consideration.

The campaign was launched at a party at the 11th century Blackfriars Priory, swathed in neon pink for the occasion, and attended by more than 200 of the region’s creative people and businesses.

Rock The Cotswolds is the brainchild of Oli Christie, owner of Cirencester-based mobile games development business Neon Play (which won a Queen’s Award last year) and Nicky Godding, regional business editor.

Oli was finding it difficult to attract the skilled people he needed to maintain fast business growth, and Nicky was hearing the same complaint from other company bosses struggling to recruit the staff they needed.

Oli said: “App developers and IT specialists tend to look to London or other big cities first for fast career growth, but there’s a lot going on in the regions too.

Nicky added: “You don’t have to leave culture behind when you move to the Cotswolds. Those already living and working here recognise that they have a higher quality of life. Surprisingly we have incredible music and sporting venues, theatres, festivals, bars, restaurants and more.

“There is so much hidden creativity and inspiring businesses in the Cotswolds, but unlike the big cities, there’s space to breath.”

The Rock the Cotswolds campaign is dedicated to showing that the Cotswolds is a fantastic place to live, work and play. “Changing long-held perceptions doesn’t happen overnight,” said Oli. “It takes time and commitment to present a new face to the world but we have a groundswell of support from some of the region’s biggest and most influential businesses who can see the value of what we are doing to their own recruitment and investment strategies. They know that the region needs talent and they’re supporting us in revealing the Cotswolds’ true colours to the world.”

For more information on Rock The Cotswolds contact Nicky Godding on 07966 510401