What makes a good press release?

A press release is a short news story written by a PR professional that is sent to targeted members of the media. It contains all the important information a journalist needs to produce their own story.

What are the features of a good press release?

Usefulness

The contents of a press release has to be interesting, informative and entertaining. One has to take into account what outcomes need to be generated from a given press release and what actions should be encouraged, for example, to garner attention and awareness. It is better to include a link for more information. It should be a ‘nofollow’ link so that Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are not violated.

Straightforward writing

The five ‘w’s ( who, what, when, where and why) , should be a part of any press release. There should be no jargon. This technique boosts credibility and communicates information efficiently so the reader understands the message quickly. For example, ‘data management’ at scale will mean nothing to people who do not know about data analytics.

Scannable

Readers do not give a lot of time to read press releases, so they have to be scannable. That would mean using bold letters, pull quotes, underlining, sidebars, bullet points and other elements that makes it convenient to scan the page rather than read it from start to finish.

Use a little fizz

Some fizz in a press release can be anything– an eye catching quote, an important statistic, or a one-sentence paragraph. Fiery blazes in writing makes it memorable.

A press release and a search release

A press release can be published online and converted into a search release. Make sure it can be easily searched by using Google and corporate search engines. Optimise the content by using keywords and adding links

Alternative formats

A press release can have alternative formats. For example a press release can arrive in the form of bullet points, infographics, podcasts, SMS, cartoons and poetry. Diversity of format also affects the quality and quantity of media coverage.

Eye-catching headlines

Strong language can also paint a picture and add sizzle. It is better to write a story first and then come up with its headline. Using alliteration in a headline can also make it catchier. For example,’ Grey geese and green fields.’ When writing a press release, entice the imagination and ask questions like,’ Why should anyone care?’ and ‘Would I read this?’.

Add tweets

Using tweets in a press release makes it colourful. It also adds context. This additional boost will help a release reach a larger audience. , which makes it seem worthwhile to talk about. A relevant tweet might show readers that they are understood.

Include images

Include images to tell a story.High quality images grab attention. Studies have shown that a press release with an image is 7 times more likely to be read than a press release without one. However, it is important that a company using one in a release has rights to that image. Try not to use generic stock photos, but do use relevant and eye-catching images.