“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
A great piece of fiction only needs one line to set the tone of a story. Similarly, press releases need a great introduction to engage readers.
Because anyone can publish anything online, your audience must quickly decide whether or not your content is credible, meaningful, and relevant to them.
Our downloadable guide to crafting press releases that drive earned media shows how to plan a compelling press release strategy. Once you develop this strategy, you need to employ the same considerations in executing a compelling final product.
If you’ve persuaded your audience to read past your headline (which should include a trigger, keyword, adjective, and promise), the introduction is where you must seal the deal to keep them reading.
When writing a press release to promote your company’s news or marketing content, follow these tips to create a strong introduction that will hook the reader and give you the edge on discoverability.
1. Get to the point. The introduction, or lead paragraph, is your chance to tell the 10-second version of your story. You’ll have the remainder of your news release to expand on the salient points.
2. Don’t force the writing process. When do you write your introduction? Before you write the story or after? If you’re struggling with your introduction, try writing your introduction last. Tell the story and then tie it together with your introduction. Otherwise, if you have an irresistible idea for your intro, write it and lay out the rest of the release in order.
3. Focus on the why. Tried and true practices of answering the five Ws (who, what, where, when, and why) in a news release are still solid practice. Lead with the why. You have a very short window to get the reader’s attention. Why does this story matter to them? Start with the why, then move on to the how and the what (where and when).
4. Know your audience’s informational needs. Do they need background? Are they more interested in context? Or would they prefer an emotionally moving story? Remember, you made your audience a promise in your headline. Deliver on that promise and they’ll keep reading.
5. Set the scene for your call to action. Include a call to action in the first 300 words of your press release (which carries on far beyond your lead, but is still an important element). The call to action tells the reader what you want them to do next: go here, download, share, click. Once you identify what that next step will be, make sure your introduction establishes an immediate and related connection between your press release’s purpose and audience. That way, readers will be motivated to take the next step when they reach your call to action.
With everyone battling for attention, earned media is more difficult to get.
However, if your press release is easy to read, clearly states the why, and gives readers a reason to keep reading, you will get greater visibility for your brand and for your message. For journalists and other influencers, you’re giving them a clean story in a format that’s easy to repurpose.
Download Five Keys to Crafting Press Releases that Drive Earned Media for more press release writing and distribution tips.
Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services with more than 20 years’ experience counseling brands on their content. She also authors Beyond PR’s long-running Grammar Hammer series. Follow Cathy on Twitter @cathyspicer and tweet her your #grammargripes.
6 Comments on Blog Post Title
Thanks your coach and share a Press Release writing tips.Thru your contribution and passion to all audience and viewers for me this is my big achievement as a follower through your tips to shared.
I completely agree with you, as a public relations professional it is crucial that you know how to write press releases. Not only do press releases deliver big news to a large target audience, but press releases can also capture a significant amount of media attention. Although I don’t have a lot of experience writing press releases, I understand the basics of writing a solid press release. When writing a press release, I have to keep in mind that I need to prove to my audience that my content is credible, meaningful and relevant to them. I thought that this article was very helpful and insightful. I particularly enjoyed your "call to action" step, telling the audience exactly what they should do next. Next time I am writing a press release I will keep these five steps in mind to make sure I am getting to the point, creating credible content, capturing the audience’s attention, know my audience’s informational needs, and offering a call to action.
You missed the most important component. Not only should the press release contain at least two contacts with phone, cell and email info – those two or more designees should be AVAILABLE in the 24-36 hours following release. I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved to cover a story but encounter voicemails and autoresponded emails.
This is well written, I’m going to use in as the basis for training material at work. Writing a press release is harder than I thought it would be, this would have helped me four years ago when I tried writing my first one. Do you have anything on distributing press releases?
Hi, Nathan! We’re glad you found this helpful. Regarding press release distribution, we offer a number of resources. Here are a few to get you started:
4 Ways to Make Newswire Distribution Work for You: http://prn.to/1Mn11Lb
Gain Targeted Audience Attention: http://prn.to/29lkG0P (Walks through the different audiences you should consider when distributing your news, as well as distribution use cases)
Buyer's Guide: Press Release Service Providers: http://prn.to/29lkYoH (Walks through questions and answers that will help you pick the content distribution provider that matches your needs)
I hope these help!
That’s a very helpful post. Kari! Most press releases are concise at just a page long. The services you just mention are so helpful for me.