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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Freddie Starr ate my hamster: how to write a perfect press release

By Felicity Fox, E=MC2 Public Relations

If your press releases aren’t cutting the mustard, here are some tips to help you improve:

Is it news?

Before you even start writing your story, ask yourself is it newsworthy and will people find it interesting?

Use short, attention-grabbing headlines that tell a story

You have about seven seconds to hook your editor so cut to the chase. A good press release should summarise the key points of your subject in the headline and the opening sentence. Keep it concise and cover ‘who?’, ‘what?’, ‘where?’, ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ Keep in mind that editors will cut the story from the bottom up.

Write in the present

You don’t want your story to sound like old news. That includes quoting people in the present so write ‘says Jane Smith’ rather than ‘said’.

Use good ‘search’ words

Press releases can provide significant content to news search engines and can rank well in standard search engines like Google or Yahoo. The importance of using words that people will search the internet for can never be underestimated. With online and the internet becoming more vast and powerful than traditional media, it’s vital that your stories can be found easily.

A great image is worth a 1,000 words

This can be a compelling photograph, computer generated image or an artist’s impression which visually tells your story. As the image is often the first thing that people see, it’s vital that it promotes a good initial impression that complements the information that is given in the text.

Double check your facts and stick to them!

Check your facts, dates, figures and your sources and references. Check your spelling and grammar too and get another professional in your team to proof it for you. The slightest mistake undermines your professionalism, your client’s credibility and the media’s confidence in your story.

Don’t forget your contact details

Make sure you provide your name, phone number and email details at the bottom of the release so journalists can get in touch with you.

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