Press Release Writing: Understanding the Basics
If you've ever wanted to strike out into the world of Public Relations (PR), understanding how to write a basic Press Release is a must have skill. The basis of all PR work is understanding how to capture the attention of your audience, and being able to draw them into the story at hand. In order to capture their attention, your press release must be captivating enough that they want to find out more about the subject you have just released into the world.
A great press release can make even the most mundane information seem interesting and enlightening. It takes a skillful writer to do such a thing, though you certainly don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a great press release writer. Though it wouldn't hurt...
In order to get you on towards your path of wealth and abundance as a press release writer, let's get to know the basics of Press Release writing.
What is a Press Release?
In order to understand more about Press Releases, we must first make a short detour into the world of Public Relations. Trust me, it will help.
Public relations is the art of communicating between businesses or organizations and their target audience. A public relations specialists should have a basic grasp of social trends, audience building and rapport building. Working in PR is taking the complication out of the business world and making it attractive to your average Joe and Jane.
The Press Release is one of the most basic tools of a PR rep. It is the equivalent of going out onto a busy street with a bull horn and grabbing the attention of everyone around you, so that you can inform them of the wonderful things the world has to offer to them. This information you offer them could be about a new band playing in town, it could be about a brand new innovative product that has just hit the market or it could be about a new service that could make their lives ten times easier.
It used to be that a Press Release was when a PR specialist gave their amazing information to a media rep or journalist, to be given to the world through television, radio or live advertisement. Now we have the internet, and press releases were one of the first PR tools to easily evolve into that world. Now a Press Release can show up in the form of an article, publication, blog, tube video or podcast.
In summary, a Press Release announces information to the world. It could be an outstanding sales report, a special upcoming event, a new promotion, new services or even a pre-release teaser.
Making Your Press Release Stand Out
Now, anyone can write a press release. That's not hard. The trick of the task is to write a press release that Stands Out. One that readers can't ignore and that other media's want to follow and write about as well. This isn't an overly complicated task, but there are some tips to remember, if you want your press release to be a cut above the rest.
1) Catchy Title ~ This will be the first part of the release that anyone will look at. If it's too long, too short, to complicated or to weird, people will cast it aside. A good title should be harmonic, easy to remember and capture attention within the first four seconds.
2) The 5 W's ~ Who, What, Why, Where and When must all be answered in your introduction. Without this information, it's really pointless to release anything to the press unless you are trying to send them a teaser, which doesn't work well unless you are already well known.
3) Strong Voice ~ Press Release writing has evolved from the monotone voices of the past. Most press releases are full on articles now, and in order for yours to stand out, you need a professional yet conversational writing voice. This will build better rapport with those that read your release, which will bring in more traffic.
4) Get Visual ~ People cannot get enough of good eye candy. If your press release includes a few high quality photos or a well timed video, your press release will stand above the rest. On top of that, google search bots will pick up your release faster than if you didn't use either.
5) SEO Skills ~ Because most Press Releases are internet based now, there is a huge call for press releases to be SEO sensitive. Otherwise they simply fall behind and go unnoticed, even if they were written more skillfully than any other release out there. Focus on giving your press release just the write amount of SEO without going over board, and you'll get noticed by search engines and more readers.
6) Get Social ~ These days, a story is pretty much considered useless unless it's already circulating around the social webs. In short, if it's not on the social medias, it's not newsworthy. You could almost say that places like Facebook and Twitter are where press releases get released now. All the important journalists, content writers, trend reviewers and customers are already on the social media platforms waiting to hear from you. Give them what you want, and release your information into the social networks.
7) It's Not About You ~ For the seasoned Press Release writer, this is one of the first rules in the book. Though for those that are new to it, or for businesses that try to script their own press releases, it can be a difficult concept to understand. No matter how easy it might be to focus on what you need or what your business is giving to the world, it's only going to make your job harder if you follow these methods. A good Press Release focuses on what the readers get, how something effects them or it focuses on innate human natures (pleasure, pain, etc..). Focus on your reader and they will focus on you.