Writing Press Releases Reporters Won't Ignore
November 24, 2016
In this fast-paced world of 24/7 online news coverage, reporters are swamped with numerous stories and constant urgent deadlines. Since their inboxes are always filling up, they have no choice but to judge the value of emails quickly, and those which aren’t expertly crafted end up in the trash. Considering the reporters’ lack of time and attention, how can you increase the chances of your press release being noticed? The answer is in your writing and technique. Here are some tips on how to write and pitch a press release that reporters won’t be able to ignore.
- Short and Specific Headlines. Press releases with headlines that are too long will be passed over by journalists. Press release headlines should mirror newspaper headlines in their conciseness and simplicity to be easily understood by the masses. Avoid using industry-specific jargon that will need to be defined later in the article. Additionally, adjectives and adverbs should not be included in headlines, instead use a direct verb to prevent passive voice and strengthen the headline.
- One Sentence Leads. The lead of an article quickly introduces the reader to what it will be about and is often what readers use to decide whether or not to continue reading. Journalists understand the reading habits of their readers, so they too will favor short and concise introductions that will inspire interest. Your lead should aim to be a one sentence direct idea that contains two essential elements, core news and the reason for its significance. The core news, which identifies the product, service, event, or person the press release is about, should come first. The rest of the sentence should briefly provide context and explain why the topic is significant.
- Vivid Details. The body of your press release should further describe its topic, whether it is a product, service, event, or person. Often times, PR writers rely too much on adjectives and adverbs, mistakenly believing they will add value to their topics. In fact, the excessive usage of these words leads to wordy, yet empty articles. Neither readers nor journalists will be able to visualize what is being described if adjectives are applied too freely. You should write with concrete and descriptive language that generates imagery. Use these descriptions to show your audience how your topic is extraordinary, instead of telling them.
- Human Angle. Reporters search for stories that will resonate with their readers. They do not want to publish an article that will read like an advertisement. So, whether your press release is about a product, service, event, or person, always highlight the emotional aspect of it. While writing a press release, you have to become a story-teller and connect your topic to a human subject. For example, a press release about a real estate agency should focus on one specific agent and the reasons why this real estate agent is unique. Human interest stories attract many readers, so formatting your press release to sound like one will entice reporters hoping to gain an audience.
- Pitch to Reporters. Today’s newsroom does not follow a top-down structure as strictly as it did in the past. Editors are no longer solely responsible for assigning stories to reporters. Reporters have the power to decide the stories they will write. So, when your press release is complete, pitch it to reporters first. Form relationships with reporters that write about subject areas that relate to your business, and make them fall in love with your pitches. Pitching to editors should be secondary.
- Provide Assets & Access. Online news coverage has resulted in reporters having to write constantly and in need of their next story. These reporters are also often responsible for creating their own content, such as pictures and videos, to enhance their articles. Making their jobs easier will encourage reporters to choose your press release over all the others. You can do that by including assets, such as photos, with your press release. Even if the reporter chooses not use your photos or graphs in their final article, they will make your pitch more attractive. Another way to ease the burden on reporters is by giving them inclusive, behind-the-scenes access to your business. Make sure reporters will be able to conduct interviews and collect more information they think will add to their article.
In order to target a specific sector of the very large news media audience, businesses have to first attract reporters. Once a reporter publishes an article about a topic concerning your business, more people will discover your brand. However, it won’t be an easy task to get a reporter’s attention unless your pitches are professionally written.
Keenability’s team of public relations professionals understands how important it is to craft a press release that will be picked up reporters. To learn more about the PR and other marketing services our South Florida advertising agency offers, call us today.