Writing a press release should follow the same principles as writing a newspaper article. You want to share information that resonates with your target audience. A press release should offer a compelling story that matters to them. Crafting this type of press release starts in the interview stage.
The best press release writers use interviews with their clients to fill in the blanks. This makes it easier to craft a compelling and newsworthy story that will make the target audience care. Press release interviews are most effective when you keep these five guidelines in mind:
1. Ask the right questions
A press release should answer all the basic questions that a newspaper article answers. It should tell your audience who, what, where, when, why and how. Put yourself in a reader’s shoes and seek answers to questions you would anticipate arising in their mind. New and unique information needs to be shared in the press release. Craft a hook that informs your target audience without seeming like a paid advertisement.
2. Share a story that matters
Newsworthiness matters in a press release. You need to give your target audience a reason to care. Always include quotes from the head of the company or someone impacted by the story in the press release. These quotes should be relevant and advance the story told by the press release. Your target audience should get an immediate sense of what makes this press release timely, relevant and important.
3. Personalize the press release
A press release should directly impact its target audience in a personal way. They want to know how what is being shared benefits them personally and will change their lives. A press release writer should focus on the target audience when putting together a press release. Include the human element in the release. Tie the event, product or service in question to real people and real stories. Ask clients to provide real life examples that tie into this overall purpose.
4. Reveal brand personality
Press releases are designed to get the media and your target audience to care about a event, product or service tied to a specific brand. This means a press release writer should always look for ways to mesh the story with the brand’s identity and its voice in other communications. A press release offers a company a chance to reveal their brand to the world through the media and give them a reason to care about it. The writer should work closely with the client to make sure facts, stories and quotes are consistent with the brand personality.
5. Get to the point
Avoid cluttering up your press release with a bunch of promotional or technical jargon. Your job is to capture media attention and inform your target audience. Use language that invites readers instead of pushing them away. Stick to the facts and get to the point. Press releases are a promotional tool, but should always share actual news that is easy to digest. If unfamiliar terms are included, make the meaning accessible to the target audience.
John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.