How to create a powerful press release

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What do you think makes an effective press release so that your story gets picked up by your local press?

Over 70% of local press coverage is taken directly form press releases so it’s really important you get it right. It really pays to prepare a powerful press release that makes journalists’ lives easier.

GENERAL

  • Be honest: don’t over-egg who you are.
  • Don’t overstate. ie new and it’s not brand new.
  • Grab the journalists’ attention: put the main point of the story in the introduction.
  • Do the work for them – Strong intro, quote and photo.
  • Get the word count right. 125 words minimum for Google. 350 is normal length of a page lead (between 250-350).
  • Be informal. Tell the story as if you’re talking to someone.
  • Avoid jargon and clichés.
  • Keep sentences short.

THE FORMAT/press release

Title/Subject line: Make it catchy; but remember it’s journalist’s job to develop the
headline (often for search/space reasons and their requirements keep changing).

Introduction: About 28 words max, main point of story, tell it like a story.

2nd & 3rd Paragraph: Expansion on introductory paragraph.

4th Paragraph or later: Strong quote, human, emotional.

• After that: More detailed, less important information.

End with call to action: Link back to your website.

Notes to editors: Detailing what you do.

Contact information: Make clear if it’s for the journalist’s benefit or for publication.

Photographs: Ideally six for a web gallery and have a prize landscape Twitter one.

Photograph caption: Including people’s names (left to right) if it’s a small group.

Good luck!

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