Press release rules. Everyone can tell you how to write a press release. But far not everyone can help you systemize the entire process from sorting out media resources to sending follow-up emails to publishers.
Fortunately, that’s what we are doing right now. By breaking down the entire process into smaller stages, we will share a total of 21 proven rules for writing effective press releases.
Stage 1: Preparation
Rule 1. Good press releases don’t get published for no reason. To justify a press release, you have to come up with a pretty important piece of news. Otherwise, publishers are likely to mark your emails as spam.
Read more: The Main Goals of Press Release Distribution
Rule 2. Divide your media base into categories like federal, regional, print or electronic, business, news portals, radio, television, etc. Categories are easier to perceive and analyze. Now you can focus on resources that have the largest concentration of your target audience.
Read more: How to Send a Press Release to Local Media
Rule 3. Find speakers on the topic of your release who are authorized to comment and answer additional press questions.
Rule 4. Register a separate email address for doing correspondence with publishers. This way, you can track the progress of your campaign more effectively. Otherwise, you’ll end up messing with your regular email account.
Rule 5. Create a custom press release template, and make sure to include your current contact information.
Stage 2: Writing First Drafts
Rule 6. Brevity is the soul of wit. A press release is not a long read. The shorter it is – the more people will read it.
Rule 7. More specificity. The most important message comes first. The headline and the leading paragraph reflect the main idea of the entire press release. Make these lines sound intriguing even for the most violent skeptic.
Rule 8. Let it be a story. People don’t share press releases at lunchtime. They tell each other stories.
Read more: The Power of PR Storytelling
Rule 9. Facts and figures. Your arguments will not count unless you prove them with facts and numbers.
Rule 10. Quotes. It works when they are short and relevant. And it never works with paragraph-long quotes from CEOs or top managers. If quotes are too long, there are a high chance journalists will make them shorter. And if journalists make edits to your text, you risk losing some important context.
Read more: How to Get Better Quotes for Press Releases
Stage 3: Editing & Proofreading
Rule 11. When the first drafts are ready, set them aside for at least till the next day. Now your mind is “fresher” and you can judge the writing more accurately. Another option is when you let someone else read the press release and leave feedback.
Rule 12. Remove anything that leaves uncertainty. You should not leave readers with a feeling that they need some further explanation.
Rule 13. Use a spell checker. It’s okay to make typos as you are writing but it’s NOT okay to leave them in a final draft.
Rule 14. Remove the words like “as a result”, nevertheless”, “moreover” and a lot of similar expressions. They give no meaning to your message, so what’s the point?
Read more: Top 10 Words That Kill Your Press Release Headlines
Rule 15. Divide complex sentences into two. Make long sentences shorter.
Stage 4: Sending To Journalists
Rule 16. Most likely, you will send the actual press release in Word or PDF format. Of course, most journalists neglect viewing those files. A good idea is to make a brief version of a press release and insert it as the body of the email. At least, journalists wouldn’t need to spend time opening and reading the entire document.
Read more: Standard Press Release Format
Rule 17. The subject of the letter is just as important as the first sentence of your press release. Email filters can send emails with long subjects into spam. That’s why it must be short and on point.
Rule 18. A letter with a personal appeal increases the chance it will be read by a respondent. Try to personalize (address by name) each email whenever possible.
Rule 19. Do not mark the email as an “important message”. It might be important to you the journalist. They receive hundreds of press releases every day.
Rule 20. It’s not a good idea to follow up with publishers 10 minutes after sending the request. You can do this only if you make updates on your information or want to add anything new. Otherwise, you’ll seem intrusive.
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Stage 4: Saying “Thank You”
Rule 21. If anyone published your press release, make it a habit to follow up with a thank-you note. This leaves a positive feeling on both sides, and may even start a further collaboration with this media resource.
Industry Experts about Press Release Rules
Adam Jacobs, a Professional Digital Marketer, CEO, and well-known Marketing Director of Bubblegum Casting
Establishing a solid foundation with a meticulously crafted brief is essential to producing a fruitful press release. This element’s job is to supply the writer with structure, guidance, and direction.
When getting information from someone, you should begin by writing down the most important goals for the details. You can also include information about the most critical messages and language, things that should not be mentioned, and anything else that might be helpful. A news story that is succinct yet compelling and is used to announce an event, product, service, circumstance, or other happening is called a press release. Journalists are asked to publish press releases by individuals and organizations, such as celebrities and politicians, as well as businesses and charitable organizations. The primary purpose of a press release is to disseminate information to a broad audience and, in some cases, across international borders. Additionally, press releases are the tried-and-true, bread-and-butter tool for media relations. They help promote a product or raise awareness about an issue, which is why they are so effective. Unlike news stories, they typically only take one or two pages and contain between 150 and 250 words.
You should now be aware that the primary objective of each press release is to promote something newsworthy and particular. However, you must know the appropriate timing for drafting press releases if you want to incorporate them into your marketing and promotional strategies. You might want to consider issuing a press release if any of the following apply to you:
- If you have something important to say about your company that you want to get out there, try to get a reporter interested so they can write about it in a news article.
- Notify the media about an event, with the expectation that they will spread the word further. For instance, there is an upcoming launch of a product, a business meeting, new store openings, and many more.
- Increase the brand’s visibility on the internet by using social media, blogs, and websites.
Essential information in a press release will typically cover the following five aspects of reporting: “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why.” By adhering to this structure, you will be able to communicate your message more clearly and zero in on the information you consider most vital for your audiences to understand.
In addition to being pertinent to the medium on which you are publishing the press release, the primary content of your press release should be something you are enthusiastic about disseminating to the general public.