Six Steps To Write A Press Release That Gets Attention. Now that you know the value of public relations and constructed a list (see the posts from February 19 and 20, 2015 respectively in case you missed them) it is now time to get down to the serious business of writing your release. I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to writing, and by old fashioned I mean by the book. Here are those writing steps in the order they should be written
- Who. Who are you, what is your name and/or the name of your company, service, cause or charity? Put that first. I have talked with public relations beginners who feel like this is boring and not terribly creative. Maybe. But when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, you tell him or her your name, right? The same thing applies here and is especially important if you are a newcomer to business. What’s in a name? Everything so put this first.
- What. What are you selling, offering, suggesting or advocating? If you are not peddling something, whether a product, service, or idea, then you need to reconsider whether or not writing and publishing a press release is the best vehicle for you. The “what” is the place where you introduce the way what you do will make someone else’s life better, easier, more affordable, convenient, or faster. The “what “ is the place where you can tell the reader that you have something new, better, more advanced, less expensive, faster, etc. The “what” is the identifier for requests your customers will make when they go to buy your offering.
- When, Time is not relative. Days, dates and times occur with regularity. More to the point, if your press release is not telling the audience something new, then the release is not “news”. I once had an employer who insisted that I write a press release about a product that had been around for a decade. It failed the “news” part, so I had to work with him to find an attribute about this product that was new and had not been previously revealed. Reporters and editors and even bloggers want to know what is new so they can tell their readers about it. It is the way they stay relevant and important. If your information is something from the ancient past, it is not news, more like history.
- Where. Much like time, destinations and locations are well defined. When you are announcing something for sale and the potential customer has to go to your store or office to make a purchase, you want to make sure that location is readily identified. The same applies on line too. If you are offering a product or service for sale, and it can be accessed via the web, tell your audience the location.
- Why. Why should reporters and their readers pay careful attention to what you have to offer? Is your product less expensive, more advanced, bigger, smaller, faster, or better in some way than what was previously available? This is the place in the release where you can “sell” by offering information that describes why prospective customers and readers lives are incomplete without what you have to sell. And in case someone thinks that selling only means merchandise, think again. Instead of an offer of money in exchange for goods and services, selling can involve advocating a position or point of view. Why should you vote, contribute, download, or buy my thing? Tell them here.
- How. The “how” section of your release defines the way what you do does it, delivers or accomplishes the thing you are suggesting. For example, if you were in the dog training business and wanted to convince dog owners to hire you, your “how” might describe your training methods, “I use rewards and sound to train your dog, I never use force.” When you read that in the “how” section you know better about the expertise offered. And when you write it, you know what you want the reader to know about your abilities and/or expertise.
Press release writing is not the same as forms of creative expression, nor should it be. Press releases are for informing the public or target audience about what you have to say, offer or suggest. They are written like news stories because you want them reported as news in papers, web sites, blogs, radio, TV or other media. The audience for press releases is reporters, so write for them. They are the audience. If you want to be a creative writer, and express your creativity, press writing is not the appropriate place.