Good writing always helps, in particular writing for social media, since more and more journalists are using social media to find stories. According to a recent article in PR News, minding the do’s and don’ts will increase your chances of getting reporters to read your press releases and subsequently write about your organization.
Long rambling sentences – Press releases are going to journalists on deadline, not English professors. Get to the point fast. Pretend you are writing a tweet. If you can keep it to 160 characters, you will increase your chances of having your material read and acted upon.
Jargon – It will not make you sound smarter and it may even confound a reporter. If the reporter doesn’t understand the press release, he or she will move on to another press release.
Generalization, Superlatives and Cliches – Saying that your news is the most unique thing since sliced bread won’t endear you to reporters. You need to state why something is unique. Offer supporting information like facts, tips or statistics to back up your pitch.
Anonymity – Avoid sending an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Your email has to look like it comes from a real person and you need to personalize the message. Mention how much you enjoyed a recent article or congratulate the reporter if he or she received an award. While a complement won’t turn a bad pitch into a good pitch, showing that a nice human being is behind the pitch will go a long way in getting your news noticed.
Forgetting links to other info – Don’t leave out links to supporting materials. Fact checking is extremely important. Do the reporters a favor and make it easy for them to verify the facts and information in your press release.
Here are the Do’s:
Images – Include an image that tells your organization’s story. A picture is worth a thousand words and can help your organization get some media coverage. Even if there isn’t time or room for a full article, there may be a spot for a photo with a caption.
Quotes – Use quotes in your release from organization executives or other key influencers. A colorful, yet pertinent quote will make your news seem less stiff and more like it came from real people.
Links to back up your facts and stats – If you are including facts and statistics in your release, provide links to your sources. If four out of five doctors recommend your organization’s product or service, make sure you have the data to back it up and can provide it to reporters.
Provide case histories and success stories – Reporters and editors like to hear about good news and learn about things that work. So, tell them about the good things that you and your organization are involved with and what has led to the success.
In many ways, getting the attention of the media is more art than science, and there are never any guarantees that you will get coverage. However, these tips should help you to write a press release that will improve your chances of getting your organization noticed and covered by media.