Struggling to start your press release?
No matter how many press releases I’ve written, if I take a break for a while, or if I’m finding trouble getting started I find myself googling “How to write a press release”.
In reality, I know very well how to write a press release, and what I really need is a good kick up the behind and someone to tell me “get a move on, do the thing you’re good at and just start writing”.
So here is my 10 step, kick up the behind-no messing- just get going-guide to writing a press release as written by me, to me.
1. If you have no angle, you have no press release, so go find it. Now.
Don’t even think about starting without an angle. You will fail.
If you’re thinking, ah sure I’ll just get something down, stop kidding yourself. Halfway through you will realise that you’re repeating the same sentence and you will start asking yourself whether you’ve added any value to the world at all recently.
If you haven’t been given an angle do some quick market research and figure.it.out.
Don’t even read step two if you haven’t done this. Seriously.
2. No, don’t write your headline first, you daft eejit*
Why do guides always put this near the top of their list? Do it last — otherwise, you will waste your life and coffee away working and reworking a title for something that doesn’t even exist yet.
*an endearing Irish term for being a bit foolish
3. Write your opening and GET TO THE POINT
I LOATHE clever mnemonics (I just can’t remember them!) but by god, the 5 Ws are helpful here.
Your opening line needs to include Who, What and Where. The other two can follow next, but remember: essential info only. Don’t start showing off at this point.
SIDE NOTE: If you can’t remember the other two Ws…reconsider your career or go fix yourself another coffee.
4. Re-read your opening paragraph
Forget to do this until they end and risk realising that you’ve included a pile of waffle that would have fit better in the third or closing paragraph.
If you haven’t introduced why this press release is relevant today, please god, put it in now.
5. Who is my audience and why do they love me?
This is your “supporting information and context”, but really, you’re going fishing and you need to reel your audience in with your juicy brand values and objectives.
Pretend you love your theoretical customers like your own: you need their attention, loyalty, and let’s be honest, their time, money or both.
6. You should be on a roll at this stage but if you do need more hand-holding (sigh)… have you remembered to include a quote?
Journalists and editors love a good quote from a relevant source. Make them feel like they were in the room with the owner or employee. The further up the chain of command the better.
To sweeten the deal, a customer comment is delish. If relevant. And positive. (Again, if you’re about to include an even remotely negative quote, please reconsider your life choices).
7. You love your audience, but you need to tell them what to do next
Make this explicit, no time for your flowery language. Your time for persuading is dust. If you haven’t made them thirsty for a call to action at this point…go back to step 5.
8. Boilerplate yadda-yadda-yadda
You love this part, don’t you? The personality-less, mandatory drivel at the end of a press release. Just suck it up and deal with it. And remember, it only needs to be short and snappy.
And don’t forget the triple-check the contact details!!