I’ve already shared my Dos and Don’ts When Sending a Press Release, now I’m going to let you in on even more insider knowledge in the first of a series of blogs on this rather hefty topic. This blog covers things to think about before writing a press release, a companion guide to June’s blog: How to Write a Press Release.
What and who?
Before you start writing, think about what the story you want to get across is, and who your target readers are.
While all positive publicity is good, seeing a press release through its writing, placement and monitoring takes time – so think about who your target market is and prioritise. Write for your target market first and if you have more time you can always target other markets later.
For some publications, for example Saga, the magazine for the over 50s, the demographic of its readership is obvious. For others this information may be available on its website or by asking for a media pack.
Read the publications you’ve identified
Read the titles you want to be featured in to learn their house styles and individual reporters’ interests and contact details. Research national and trade titles online. Take note of deadlines.
What’s your story?
Don’t just write a press release because business is slow and you want some general coverage. Decide in advance on your story.
How strong the story needs to be depends on the publication. For a local newspaper if you live or work in their catchment area and you are doing something interesting, that is usually enough. A business opening, tick. A successful apprenticeship scheme, tick. Staff doing a parachute jump, tick.
For a regional or national business section or trade publication it needs to be bigger – taking on a significant number of new staff, reaching an important milestone, doing something innovative, offering useful advice to other businesses, commenting as an expert on a topical and relevant issue.
What’s your angle?
Find your angle. In a simple story, there will be one obvious angle. If you have a lot of information to get across or there are a few things happening, think about what is most newsworthy and start with that.
A picture tells a thousand words
It’s always good to supply a high-quality photo to accompany your press release, as it increases the chances of your piece securing a prominent place in your target publication.
If your story is about something that has already happened, send a good photo of the event with your release. If the release is not time sensitive, pay a photographer or get a creative on your staff to take an interesting, good quality photo to accompany it.
If you do all this groundwork you’ll be ready to get stuck in to writing, so please come back in June for How to Write a Press Release.