(and get the media coverage you deserve)
This month Teddington-based copywriting duo The Word Sanctum share some insider knowledge to help small businesses get their message across loud and clear.
If you’ve got an amazing new product or service you want to shout about, then a press release is a great way of spreading the word. But before you put pen to paper, bear in mind that editors and journalists are regularly flooded with press releases, many of which don’t even get read. So, how do you ensure yours is a must-read with a chance of gaining you that all-important media coverage?
Are you talking to me?
Before you start writing, ask yourself whose attention you’re trying to get. Decide who your audience is and spend time researching your target media. Start to build a relationship with relevant journalists and editors – don’t just follow them on social media, engage with them. Journalists like to get to know the people who are sending them stories. Check out their publishing schedules and timelines, and investigate regular features and what sort of things regularly make the cut.
Less sell, more tell!
When it comes to press releases, there’s nothing journalists dislike more than a sales pitch, so don’t try and sell them your service or product. What journalists love is a good story. Make sure your press release paints a picture through storytelling and portray your product or service as a benefit to someone else.
The 5 ‘W’s
Journalists love information. It’s free content! Whatever story you’re telling, it has to provide the answers to the 5 ‘W’s – who, what, when, where and why. These are the backbone of your press release. A punchy headline that generates interest, good grammar and correct spelling will do you a lot of favours too.
Next time you’re tackling a press release try following these five steps:
An informative headline that packs a punch is key to grabbing attention. Keep your headline short, informative and eye-catching. Humour works well but only where appropriate!
Hook their interest with your opening sentence. This is basically a concise summary of the press release so the reader knows what to expect.
Get to the heart of the story straight away. You’ve grabbed their attention and hooked their interest so now you need to answer the 5 ‘W’s. Keep it as short as possible (journalists and editors are always time-poor) while still providing all the relevant information. One A4 page is ideal, anything more than two pages is too long. Say why the story is currently relevant; your aim is to convince the editor to cover it now. Include a little background information on the subject/company in the main body.
Quotes are a must! They add flavour and authenticity so include a couple of punchy quotes from someone involved in the story.
The last paragraph of your press release needs to expand on the ‘who’ in your story. It’s your chance to say more about your business. Think of it a bit like the ‘About’ page on your website – it helps give a fuller picture of who you are and shows your credibility. Keep it engaging, informative and let your brand’s personality shine through. A short line about your company’s goals and achievements will round off your press release nicely.
AND FINALLY…Don’t forget to include contact information at the end so the journalist can get in touch with any questions…let’s face it, they’re so hooked by your story, they’re sure to want to know more!
The Word Sanctum specialises in copy and content writing for small businesses in the TW area. If you need help with press releases, website content, social media, newsletters, blogs or brochures, get in touch.
The Word Sanctum