Jo Middleton is director of Inside Scoop, an organisation providing a range of media and marketing training, mentoring and consultancy services to individuals, businesses and charities. Mention the code SALT, and you can claim 10% off any training with Inside Scoop.
OK, so you know you’ve got a great business and an amazing product or service, but how do you go about getting journalists to realise just how fantastic you are? When your press release is just one of hundreds pinging into a journalist’s inbox every week, what can you do to make sure yours is the one that gets noticed?
Before anyone gets as far as actually reading you press release, they’ll be looking at how it’s presented. Make sure then that your release looks the part – check that it’s dated, clearly formatted and includes useful notes to editors. Double check spelling and grammar too – you’d be amazed at how many press releases contain typos.
Grab the reader’s attention
Make sure your headline is short and punchy and includes actual news. Tell the reader exactly what’s happening and who is involved. “Local restaurant launches new menu” is not news. “Bistro Bliss doubles profits thanks to new local cheese dishes” contains more action.
Check your tense
A press release should always be written in the third person, even if this feels a little odd when you’re writing it. Including lines like “we’re really pleased to introduce our new menu” will show you up straight away as an amateur.
Short and sweet
Although the temptation is to try and cram in as much information as possible, journalists will thank you for saving them precious time and summing up your news in as few words as possible. One page is normally ample to get your key points across, and you can always include extra information in your editor’s notes. If your story is compelling enough, a journalist can always ask for extra information.
Include a quote
Do you have an expert who can add gravitas to your story? Maybe a case study who sums up why your story matters to real people? Including a quote not only adds interest, it also shows a journalist that you’ve done your research.
If you’d like to find out more about writing compelling press releases, building relationships with journalists and securing media coverage, visit www.inside-scoop.co.uk