• Abigail Dillon

21st Century Press Releases - When, What, Why and How.

With the rise in popularity of blogging, some people may (wrongly) assume that the days of copywriting and distributing press releases are over. However, press releases are a fantastic way of getting your company and brand out into the media spotlight for a relatively low cost (just the cost of writing it in the first place).

A press release is an informative piece of writing which is distributed to the ‘press’ to gain exposure to a newsworthy business development. Often, press releases are a more successful way of gaining publicity and exposure than a paid-for advert, as you’re looking to inform your audience rather than persuade or hard sell.

As with most copywriting and content creation, a press release needs to be concise, gripping and encourage the audience to interact with your business.

When to think about a press release:

  • When your business is expanding, moving or changing

  • When you’ve won an award or accolade from your industry

  • When you’re extending your portfolio

  • When you’re attending / have attended a prestigious event

  • When you’ve gained a significant customer or supplier

  • When you’re being active in your community

Ideally, before commencing a press release project, you should be able to easily answer the question ‘Will the reader be interested in this news?’. If the answer is yes, then you’re already in a great position to start pulling together the what, when and why. If the answer is no, you potentially need to take a step back and look around your news piece: are there any other factors which may improve the attractiveness of this story? Am I able to incorporate this news with another business development? Is it worth hanging on to this news until I am in a better position to expose it?

As a general rule, a press release is not an artistic platform. There is no need to conjure up creative content packed with alliteration, metaphors and everything else you learnt in primary school English. The tone should be factual, precise and to-the-point. Assume your audience is busy. Rein in your copywriter.

A good press release leaves no opportunity for ambiguity. Imagine you’re reporting on your own business, and in your planning or copywriter briefing, make sure you have the answers to the following questions. Who is affected by and involved in this news? What is new and why is it important? When and where is this happening? How did this happen? What will happen next as a result of this news? Is there anything worth noting about what happened before this news?

Top Tip: when writing a press release, always have a standard newspaper article in mind. The layout should be very similar. The first paragraph briefly encompassing the entire message, second-third paragraph going to a deeper level of explanation and background, the final paragraph summing up the news and giving a call-to-action. There should be a gripping title to capture the reader’s attention, an appropriate image with appropriate caption and so on. Make sure you’ve also included your media spokesperson’s contact details. Nothing worse than having a call-to-action and not giving your audience someone to call!

Press releases are a very popular request from my clients and are very effective at distancing yourself from your competition. If you have a business development you’d like to communicate with your industry, get in touch to see how my press release copywriting service can help you.

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