5 Keys to writing an effective press release

The debate of whether or not a press release is still relevant appears to be never-ending, however it continues to serve as an effective way to relay information to the press, as well as the public.  Not only is it a convenient way to tell your story, but it also serves as a one-stop shop, if you will, for the press or public to gather as much information as possible in one visit in order to learn more about the subject at hand.  

One common mistake I often see is when a press release is drafted as a marketing brochure or essay. It must be written correctly in order to be effective.  So how does one successfully create a compelling press release?  Here are 5 tips to keep you on track:

1.    Make sure your “story” is newsworthy 

Throughout the writing process, continually check in with yourself and ask, “Is this actually interesting?  Would anyone outside of the company itself find this of interest?”  If yes, keep going!  If not, it may be time to reconsider actually moving forward with the press release or waiting until you have something more attention-grabbing.

2.    Include quotes from company executives

Journalists often times pull information directly from a press release, and a quote from a company executive is a great piece to use!  Quotes should include the main message of your release, as well as read like an actual person.  Executive quotes are also a great way to shape the company as industry thought leaders, so craft them wisely!

3.    Keep your goal in mind

When drafting a press release, it’s easy to get caught up in the who/what/where/when/why aspects, but it’s important to remember whyyou’re writing this press release and what you hope to achieve once it’s distributed. Keeping your goal in mind is a great way to keep you focused and on track with an effective press release.

4.    Word count matters 

400 words, max.  That’s it! Any more than 400 words and you’re verging on a bylined article.  Something less than 400, you just simply don’t have enough information to create a substantial, newsworthy announcement.  400 words has consistently proved to be a solid number to keep in mind. 

5.    Include facts or hard numbers

Including bulleted facts or hard numbers is a solid way to support the significance of your press release.  If you’re goal is to make a point, you must have the proof to back it up.  Quantify your news and it will become much more compelling.

And when all else fails, seek out a seasoned public relations professional and call us!

 - Megan Saulsbury, founder and CEO, Canyon PR