How to Write a Press Release

January 19, 2011

Writing Press Releases is Simple

Last week I gave some tips on how to structure a press release template. This week, here is some guidance on writing a press release – assuming that you already have your press release template together.

1. The Headline. The headline should summarise the entire press release and encourage the journalist to read further. If it’s a business to business press release, something along the lines of  ‘Sondberg Printing Announces Acquisition of Greenink Supplies’ would work well. If the press release is for business to consumer, you might want to adjust your tone if the subject is a little lighter; for example ‘UK Consumers Love Peachy Scents this Valentine’s Day’.

2. Writing Style. Your writing style needs to vary depending on the content of your release. Think about the publication or website in which you want your release to appear and write about your news in a way that it likely to appeal to the editor. If you are sending your release to The Telegraph, The Sun or Baking Professionals, the style is going to need to be very different. With B2B PR, you can assume that the editor and the reader will have a lot more background knowledge of the subject.

3. Make a Great First Impression. The first paragraph should summarise all the key points. Remember that a busy editor will want to understand your press release quickly before putting it forward for possible inclusion or rejection.

4. Give Enough Detail but Not Too Much. Use your second paragraph to give enough – but not too much – additional background. About 100 words is enough.

5. Add Quotations. Add some quotations from interested parties. There should be at least one quotation from your company, perhaps from the CEO, plus a quotation from another related group. This could be a client or business partner if the release is about an agreement, or someone who understands the relevance of the news, either an industry spokesperson or consumer expert.

6. Finish with your Contact Details. These should be in the press release template I described last week.

This framework should form a useful template for writing a press release. I’d be happy to answer any questions your have if you leave a comment.

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Tips for Creating a Press Release Template

January 12, 2011

A Press Release Template in Less Time Than It Takes to Find the Coffee

If you are planning to release news to print and online journalists, it will help to create a proper press release template. Once you have set up a template, it can be used for future press releases, saving you time. Here are some tips on the essentials that you need to include:

1. Create your press release template in MS Word or another, similarly accessible format. If a new version of Word comes out, use the slightly older version until you are sure that most journalises will be able to open the new format.

2. Add a logo to the top of your document.

3. Underneath, on the left hand side, add ‘For Immediate Release’.

4. In the centre, add the words ‘Press Release’.

5. Underneath, add a headline for the press release such as ‘ABG Graphics Acquires West London Design Company’

6. Start your press release with the location of your news release and the date – for example “London, 15th February 2011”

7. After the main press release, add a final paragraph containing boilerplate about the company; for example

‘About ABG Graphics:

ABG Graphics is a London based graphic design company specialising in design for all types of fashion industry catalogues. Founded in 1985, ABG now has a staff of 165 people in the UK and China and dedicates itself to serving leading names in fashion retail.’

8. At the bottom of the release add a section: ‘For Further Information:’ and then include your contact details which should include your name, your title, telephone number and email address.

These tips should help to get you started with any PR activity. Look out for next week’s post on writing press releases.


10 Tips for Good B2B PR

October 6, 2010

PR is About Connections, through Every Channel including Social Media

PR should form a central element of any good business to business marketing plan. Here are ten tips for building a good PR strategy for your business.

  1. Not all PR is worth the time or trouble. Think about who you are trying to reach and be dogged in screening your target publications and websites. It might give you a boost to see your company name in the Isleworth Gazette, but if your target market is Germans in the manufacturing industry, frankly, what are you doing?
  2. PR has changed. You’re not just dealing with seasoned, or even unseasoned journalists these days, you also need to work with bloggers. Put together a target list of publications, websites and blogs that you are trying to reach, together with  contact details for the publications and websites, and website addresses for the blogs.
  3. Assemble your collateral. Ideally, your press kit should include some good photographs of your products or people at work and photographs of your key personnel. If possible, you should also produce video assets but these need to be produced closely in line with your PR strategy and also in close association with forthcoming features on trade websites.
  4. Put together a press plan for the next few months. Work with the company executives and colleagues to understand which stories can be covered and to find interesting pieces. There are going to be changes as events unfold, but make sure that you have a plan of activity as a starting point. Assemble a list of hot topics of the day. Work with your senior management to agree company views on these issues. Make sure thathey are in agreement with your press plan and understand the importance of the PR strategy. Ask them to be available for interviews and quotes when required.
  5. Create well written press releases, written in the third person, that accurately reflect the company in an unbiased style. Journalists hate salesy press releases.
  6. Send your press release individually to journalists and also release it via a PR newswire service. Follow up with the journalists to make sure they have received your release.
  7. Consider optimising your press release for the search engines and publishing it online on article sites. This can be tricky if the exact wording is critical but is beneficial for SEO.
  8. Interact with bloggers by posting comments against their articles. Make sure that these comments are interesting and make a real contribution to the debate.
  9. Engage in Social Media. Use Twitter as part of your PR activity. Post on a regular basis – about three times a day is ideal. See my article on Twitter for more guidance. Use LinkedIn (for B2B companies) or possibly Facebook in certain cases to establish your company identity and interact with your customers. Many of you are trailblazing in this area, but you may find something useful in my next post on maximising the effectiveness of LinkedIn as a PR tool.
  10. Measure your results after each campaign and measure social media at least once a month. Look at relationships generated with journalists, stories published and coverage in social media. With Twitter, be more concerned with the profile of your followers than the number of followers – it’s not a haggis throwing contest.

It is hard to sum up the entire discipline of business to business PR in one post, but I hope that these tips are a useful starting point. It would be great to hear any experiences from readers in this area.