5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Press Release

By on Feb 11, 2015 in Business Writing, Writing & Editing

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It’s easy to find a press release (PR) template or formatting guide, as there are literally thousands of them plastered all over the Internet. But simply following these templates will result in dull, generic press releases that will be sent straight to the bottom of a publication’s news pile. If you want to write the perfect press release that will result in coverage, you need to keep these 5 important things in mind:

1. Consider the reader

Keep in mind that the first few people who will read your PR are not the common readers, but editors and journalists who will then decide if it’s worth including in their publication or if it’s going to be sent to the pile. Try to write for those sets of eyes because it keeps your goals more realistic. If you succeed in convincing said editors and journalists to publish your PR, they will be the ones who will rewrite your press release to conform to what their readers want to read.

2. Make Sure the subject line is perfect

As with any correspondence or write up vying for attention, the most important part is usually the first thing that a reader will see: the subject line. This is particularly true for press releases because the first few readers – the ones who will decide whether it’s fit for publication – are busy people who only have time to read a few snippets of text before moving on to the next one. If your subject line doesn’t catch their attention, the chances of your PR getting read, falls sharply.

3. Inform, but don’t promote

Don’t try to hard sell a product or service in your press release. Avoid unnecessary adjectives that will make your press release read more like a sales pitch than an informative document. Remember that publications have to entertain PRs from different companies and want to avoid looking like they’re biased towards a single one, so if your press release will take too much work to edit just to appear non-promotional, it will probably go into the dreaded pile. A simple way of following this tip is by rereading your press release and looking for sentences that are based on your opinion. Remove or rewrite those sentences because opinion, no matter how valid, isn’t necessarily informative fact.

4. Make the press release conversational, but don’t be fake

It’s always a good idea to make the reader feel that the press release is personally talking to them, but readers are not stupid. Forced conversations like “Hi, how is your morning?” or “Hello sir, I hope you’re doing well today,” are grating and actually make them feel like you’re trying to con them. The best approach is not to address a single person, but instead address groups of people. Instead of trying to come up with a generic greeting that can apply to a bunch of different individuals, try to come up with a generic greeting that will apply to a certain category or group of people, depending on your target. For instance, food lovers if you’re writing a PR for a restaurant.

5. Stick to the basics

While you want your press release to be fun and engaging to read, you should not forget that it is still a professional correspondence designed to represent your company. So, avoid going overboard with your structure and design choices. Use a readable, generic typeface in a default font size. Use black text exclusively if possible, and maintain a professional tone. This means you can be excited at times, but don’t SCREAM AT THE READER like this. Most importantly, proofread to ensure that there are no typographical or grammatical errors anywhere on the PR.

Image credit: ilouque on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.

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