It's finally time to write your first press release! But with that many questions come: Why do you need to write a press release? Where do you start? How does your press release stand out from the crowd? What must be part of any press release? This blog post gives you some key ideas to help you write your first press release:
Visibility and awareness are crucial for any business. Especially for startups that are still in the early stages of development, press releases and other marketing tactics can make a big difference to their success in getting their name out there. On the other hand, journalists depend on press releases to get important story ideas and news topics. However, they do not have time to read every one, as they get many press releases, sometimes hundreds a day!
In order for the topic to be seen as newsworthy and useful by a journalist, answering the five W's will help when writing a press release:
Why? Who? What? Where? and When?
If all these questions are answered, your press release is on track to being seen as important by the journalist. Other reasons why a journalist decides which press release to publish can be found in our blog - how a journalist chooses what press release to publish. Another crucial question you should ask yourself is whether this topic is also seen as newsworthy by your target audience.
To stand out in a crowded inbox, a good email header is the be-all and end-all. The art lies in creating a catchy but at the same time informative title, particularly appealing to the target audience but also the journalist. If big numbers (or small numbers) are available, use them as they show how big an impact the news has. The bigger the impact on the bigger the audience, the more chance your press release has of being published. One tip is to write the headline when the rest of the press release is finished.
The topline is at the beginning of every press release and is the most important part: the summary of all relevant information of the story. While writing, it helps to orientate yourself again on the 5 W's: Give the "why" in the first sentence, closely followed by who, what, when, and where. Imagine how you would explain this story in a few words to someone who doesn't know the content of your press release. How would you go about explaining the story to this person? Which aspects are important, which would you rather leave out?
Keep the press release short. About one A4 page, i.e. six to eight paragraphs, is long enough. Additional subheadings make it easier to understand information in the main body, especially if figures and statistics are included. To achieve this brevity and keep everything to the point, avoid repeating yourself. Also, background information about your company or the broader story comes at the end in "Notes to Editors".
Quotes show that you have a reliable and knowledgeable source on a particular topic. Personal insights from people involved, such as CEOs, industry experts or customers, work well here. Quotes are a good way to provide insight and opinion rather than information. They should be short and written in a natural language as if you were explaining it to a friend.
This blog has hopefully given you some tips on how to approach and write your first press release. In order not to be overwhelmed when writing and to get a story as strong as possible, PingGo can help and give you focus. All the basics are covered by questions so that nothing is missed. One last thing: it may take a few tries before you can win over the press for your startup. Don't let that discourage you and try to learn from these experiences!