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The TishTash Guide to Compelling Press Releases

Public Relations (PR) is one of the most popular services we offer at TishTash and it’s something we live and breathe, and well could likely do in our sleep after all these years.   
 
One tool we often use in PR is a Press Release – a written piece of content to disseminate news and information to media, which is used to drive coverage and media opportunities for clients.  
 
There is a real art to writing a press release though and it’s not a skill to be taken for granted.   Writing a press release involves crafting a clear, engaging story that grabs attention quickly and effectively communicates your message to journalists and the public.

Here’s our TishTash step-by-step guide to help you write and structure a press release yourself:

  1. Headline – You need to get attention from the start by creating a concise and attention-grabbing headline that summarizes the main point of your press release. Use strong verbs and key details to make it strong and compelling.
  2. Dateline – It is good practice to Include the city and date of the press release.
  3. Introduction (First Paragraph) – You need to start strong, so write a strong opening paragraph that answers the essential questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. All of the key aspects of your announcement should be summarised in the introductory paragraph.
  4. Body (Subsequent Paragraphs) – In subsequent paragraphs you can expand on all in more detail, providing background information and including quotes from key stakeholders like executives or experts to add credibility and a human touch. We recommend using relatively short sections/paragraphs to make the press release easier to read/skim for journalists.
  5. Boilerplate – A boilerplate is a short section/ paragraph about your company or organization towards the end of the press release. This should provide a brief overview of who you are, what you do, and any relevant background.
  6. Call to Action – You need to end your press release with a strong call to action, prompting journalists to take the next step, whether it’s scheduling an interview, visiting a website for more information, or attending an event.
  7. Contact Information – Make it easy for journalists to reach you for more information or interviews by providing contact details (name, phone number, email). Add this at the end after the boilerplate.

TishTash Top Tips for Writing a Compelling Press Release:

  1. Be Clear and Concise: Avoid jargon and overly complex language. Use simple, direct sentences. Make it easy for anyone to understand.
  2. Length matters: No one has time these days, especially journalists, so keep your press release as concise as possible. It should maximum be 2 sides of A4, never any more unless research findings or in-depth insights.
  3. Proofread Carefully: Your press release needs to be flawless, so check it for grammar, spelling, and of course factual accuracy before distributing your press release. First impressions count at all times.
  4. Make sure it’s Newsworthy:  Just because your client or stakeholders want you to send something, doesn’t mean you should Make it clear why your announcement is important or relevant to your industry, community, or the public.
  5. Target Your Audience:  It’s important to keep your audience in mind and target your press release to the specific interests of the journalists and media outlets you’re targeting. This may mean that you end up with 2-3 different versions of a press release – consumer media versus corporate/trade media for example.
  6. Always include Visuals: Always provide some imagery with your press release to make it easy for a journalist to cover. This could be high-resolution images, videos, or infographics that journalists can use to enhance their coverage. Always consider file size and type of size to make sure appropriate.
  7. Think through included quotes/spokespeople carefully: You may have to keep a lot of stakeholders happy, but always think carefully about who and how many quotes your press release contains. We would recommend ideally only one spokesperson per release, a maximum of two for additional or supporting perspectives.
  8. Follow Formatting Guidelines:  You need to be professional and deliver as expected, so ensure your press release is in the correct format, including headline, dateline, and body text. This makes it easier for journalists to quickly understand your message.
  9. Correct file type – Ensure your press release is sent in an easy-to-access, editable format, ideally a Word Document. Don’t PDF your release. Don’t spend lots of time designing a flyer-style press release either that can’t have key elements copied/pasted as that will be wasted too.

Press release writing is an art and it’s something that only betters better with practice, like most things in life. We suggest following the steps and tips and practicing often. The more you write, the easier it will be to craft a compelling press release to help communicate your news and key messaging, to ultimately increase your media coverage and visibility.

If you need any help as ever, get in touch!