Transform your dull press release into front-page news

Reach out to a huge new audience by ditching your boring old press release and instead creating a news story worthy of a hold-the-front-page shout!

Blogs and think pieces are all the rage, with nuggets of wisdom shared among groups with mutual interests. Emails, tweets and Facebook posts can also be used to introduce customers, clients and connections to both your undeniable genius and engaging writing style.

But simply sharing your own personal opinions is not taking full advantage of the opportunities offered in 2019. For many years, a good press release (PR) that appealed to enough readers or viewers, could be enough to gain exposure through the mainstream media. However, if people now search Twitter’s Periscope before the BBC, and access Facebook updates instead of the Daily Mail, doesn’t that also tell us that we can both distribute as well as create our own news?

How to write an amazing press release

The trick is to essentially use what appears to be news as a shoehorn to increase awareness of either you or your organisation. Below we will look at some ways in which we can transform a lifeless press release, into scoop!

What’s the story?

If it’s news it must be new. If you want people to read your content you need to give them something that they didn’t know before. It also needs to be timely. Today’s weather forecast is of interest, but by tomorrow it will be irrelevant. As well as being of interest, a news story should also be engaging, perhaps because it is unusual or unexpected.

Presentation is important too. Monotonously listing a few facts about a new product will be a turn-off. A piece that injects enthusiasm and colour is much more likely to garner a response.

What to write?

Firstly, who are you writing for? If you want to reach out to scientists, think of what might pique their interest in you or your company.

Let’s say you are releasing a new scientific product – perhaps a light meter. Think about the No.1 USP about the product. Is it more accurate or cheaper? If so that could be the story that you lead with. Put it in readable terms people will understand and give further technical information a little further down the story.

Ideas to consider

Could you really break your story open? Instead of just a story about the new light meter, could you gather data that both promotes your product, your expertise and wider issues. Perhaps you could conduct a survey among your peer group about the standard of light meters, or concerns about the cost and reliability of such tools? It’s much better if you can quantify a problem – ‘4 of 10 optics experts believe that…’ – rather than simply asserting an unfounded opinion.

Is it possible that you could link your story to ‘real world’ events? Perhaps your light meter story could be linked to the longest day of the year, or even the first day-night Ashes Test cricket match at the end of 2019?

Instead of just a story about the new light meter, could you gather data that both promotes your product, your expertise and wider issues. Click To Tweet

Style

Lead in with the big news in an intro that’s as brief and pertinent as possible – perhaps 25 words tops.

After that give context and further information. The basic details of the story are best expressed as a third-person news story. However, any comment or analysis can be attributed as a quote. This helps to distinguish the basic news from the opinion. Quotes also liven up a piece, and add a bit of character.

So if, for example, you were reporting on a study about the effect of speed bumps on a particular road, you might lead with the most interesting fact – perhaps that the number of collisions had reduced to zero. You’d then describe how and why the study was conducted and any other notable data. You might then give an opinion from yourself or, perhaps, a local resident as to why the speed bumps are such a good idea and how they have changed lives in the area.

Anyway, enough about speed bumps. If you have a 12-part piece, perhaps aim for five parts of story, two parts of quotes, three more parts of a different angle to the story, then two parts of quotes. This is just a guide, but it’s always nice to finish with quotes.

Headline

Writing the headline or title is possibly best done at the end when you are convinced that the story is perfect. The header should be just a few words long but grab the interest of the reader. ‘Light Corp speaks to scientists about light meters’ wouldn’t encourage me to read. ‘”Failing” light meters costing £3m per year’ is better.

Extras

Add contact details at the bottom – including your name, phone number, website and email address. You could also include a ‘boilerplate’, which describes your organisation in a few sentences.

Get it seen

Again, how to distribute your press release is dependent on its content. Remember these 5 tips for running a knock-out PR campaign.

A story about a local road and its speed bumps might be of interest to local news, radio and Facebook groups. It might be of interest to websites that focus on transport news. If it was a story about speed bumps exploding, it might be one for The Sun and the New York Times. Gather contacts for the various organisations you want to approach. If there’s one recipient you are particularly keen to include your story, perhaps give them a call or personalise the email.

You can also share the piece via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Your network will hopefully be interested to see your news and share it among their own network, gaining further traction.

Interested in finding out how we use PR and press releases as part of our growth hacking methodology? We’d love to hear about your company’s exciting plans, so please get in touch.