A complete guide to writing an effective press release

How to end the press release

Signal the end of the press release with the word “Ends” in bold. After “Ends”, write “For further information, please contact” and list your details or those of an appointed person. Do give a mobile number if you can, so that journalists can contact you easily. The more accessible you are, the better.

If any further information is needed, these can go in “Notes to editors” under the contact information. Examples might include background information on the company (called a boilerplate), or a note saying that photos are available. It’s helpful to number these points, to make your press release as clean as possible.

Who should I send a press release to?

It’s essential to research the press and media[10] you will be targeting with your press release. Get hold of back copies and tune in to relevant radio and TV programmes. This will enable you to tailor your story to suit.

For any news story, there are many angles that can be used. If a business launches a new product, there might be mileage in targeting any, or all, of the following:

  • local press (the area in which the company is based);
  • specialist press (the company’s sector);
  • specialist press (read by people who will benefit from the news in the release);
  • consumer press (if there is a more mainstream benefit);
  • national press (if there is a significant impact or change).

When you do your research, identify working patterns and deadlines. Many weekly local papers[11], for example, have a Tuesday deadline for Thursday publication. So, you might be wise not to issue a time-sensitive press release to that audience on a Wednesday.

How to send a press release to journalists

Generally, you should send a press release by email. It’s wise to make your subject line attention-grabbing. Any press release sent by email should be pasted into the email rather than sent as an attachment – this may see your email flagged as spam.

Journalists receive a lot of emails, so you may want to follow up press releases with a call to check they’ve seen it.

Should I supply images with my press release?

If you have photographs to use with your press release, then supply them. If you read the news during the week, you’ll find that many stories appear as just a photograph with caption. It’s a great way to get your message across, and can be quite striking.

Avoid head-and-shoulders shots – think more creatively. Be careful with branding, as shots that have large logos in the background can be a huge turn off. Photos that may be reproduced in black and white also need careful thought to get the tones right.

It’s a good idea to include in your press release, under ‘Note to editors’, that photos are available on request, rather than sending them as an attachment with your press release. Clogging up inboxes won’t win you any friends, and attachments may be flagged as spam.

Always include a caption with photographs. If people are included, state “Left to right…” then list the people in the shot and any further detail that’s relevant (ie where, when, etc).

Written by Debbie Leven of The PR Coach.

References

  1. ^ Writing a press release (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  2. ^ Dealing with the media (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  3. ^ Building relationships with the media (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  4. ^ Fiverr (track.fiverr.com)
  5. ^ Writing a press release (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  6. ^ Your target market (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  7. ^ Secrets of good writing (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  8. ^ Secrets of good writing (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  9. ^ How to shine in local radio interviews (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  10. ^ Create press and media coverage (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)
  11. ^ Get coverage in your local media (www.marketingdonut.co.uk)

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