I’ve got something I want to get some publicity for. How do I write a Press Release?
There’s no tried and true formula on how to write a killer press release, and unfortunately no guarantee that the news media will pick it up, but there are some things you can do to help yourself get noticed.
Firstly, make sure you have a really snappy subject line. If you write something intriguing in the headline/subject line, it’s more likely to get noticed.
Make sure you put all the most interesting information in the first paragraph. Is it something never seen before? If it is, say that right away. While it’s good to emphasise the strengths of your work, or show, or product – don’t exaggerate and certainly never fib.
Keep your press release short and to the point and remember to make sure your contact details are on it. Bold them if you can!
Is that it?
You should also include images if you have them.
Make sure the images are good resolution. Usually it’s 72 DPI (Dots Per Inch) for web and 300 DPI for print.
Include a couple of different images that really show off your work to its advantage. It’s a good idea to make one image vertical and one horizontal – just to give any editor or journalist a couple of options.
Also, include a link to your website, if you have one. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget this!
Okay, so once I’ve done all that, it should get printed/published, right?
Journalists and editors get lots of press releases each week, and in all honesty, they don’t always read them. That’s why it’s really important to make yours as eye-catching or interesting as possible.
Think of it like this: the less hard a journalist or editor has to work to make sense of your story, and the more information you give them, the more likely it is they’ll run with it.
So I’m good to go. How do I get it into the inbox of a journalist, website or paper?
Again, news organisations get press releases all the time, so it’s not going to be enough just to send a generic email with an attachment.
Make sure your email is personalised – make the subject line as interesting as you can for starters.
Also, make sure your press release copy is attached in a Word document (easy to cut and paste) and also in the body of the email – don’t just send the attachment by itself, and don’t send it as PDF.
Journalists are busy people and they’re more likely to scan an email than open a document.
What else should I include in the email?
Try and personalise it as much as you can. Use the person’s name, if you know it.
Make it short and give them a reason why they should read it.
Make sure your contact details are there, and the dates (if applicable) of your show or exhibition.
Should I do a mass mail out?
If you can email the press release out to individuals, I would definitely recommend doing that.
First of all, a lot of servers will quarantine emails that have bulk addresses. It’s a bit more work, but worth doing if you can.
If you have to send bulk emails – then BCC the addresses. No one needs to know who else you’re sending it to.
So, I’ve sent my release. Now do I just wait?
If you can, follow up with the organisation or journalist.
Ideally, with a phone call, but if that’s not possible, then send a message or voicemail or follow up email.
However, don’t overdo it. No one likes to be hassled, so try and refrain from doing this, as it’s more likely not going to work in your favour.
Anything else I should know?
Always, always, always check your spelling.
Make sure you re-read your press release through before you hit send. Run an automatic spelling and grammar check if you’re not sure. In fact, run one even if you are sure. The last thing you want is a glaring mistake in the headline or copy!