What do you think makes an effective press release so that your story gets picked up by the local press? Something that’s worked for me and others is to help the local journalist write the story easily. About 70% of our local press coverage is directly taken from press releases. Local journalists are far more desk-bound with constant staff cut backs. The local press photographer is going the way of the dodo. So the more you do to help the journalist – for instance by preparing a strong introduction with a powerful human story, an engaging quote plus a few landscape photographs – the better!
THE FORMAT: A POWERFUL PRESS RELEASE
Title/Subject line: Make it catchy. Remember it’s the local journalist’s job to develop the headline.
First paragraph/Introduction: About 28 words max, main point of story, tell it like a story. Grab the local journalists’ attention: put the main point of the story in the introduction.
Second paragraph: Expansion on introductory paragraph. Be informal. Tell the story as if you’re talking to someone. Avoid jargon and clichés. Keep sentences short. Be honest and try not to over-egg who you are.
Third paragraph: Strong quote, human, emotional.
Fourth paragraph: Further expansion on paragraph three. But there’s a common journalist’s joke that not many people read beyond the third paragragh.
Call to action: Link back to your website.
Your contact information: Make clear if it’s for the journalist’s benefit or for publication.
Notes to editors: Detail what you do.
Photographs: Ideally six/have a prize landscape Twitter one.
Caption:Including people’s names (left to right) if it’s a small group.
Word Count: 350 is normal length of a page lead (between 250-450). 125 words minimum for Google.
Good luck. If you want to know more, why not join us at our next media training event on Thursday 6 April 2017.