How to get a press release published – Simple Marketing Consultancy

Chad ColumnWriting and issuing press releases is just one of the many roles Simple Marketing Consultancy in Nottingham completes on behalf of its clients. Consequently we often get asked the secrets of our success in getting them published, very often word for word, with little to no changes at all.

We therefore thought we would share a few tips that have helped us gain this valuable source of free publicity on behalf of our clients.

Firstly, a knowledge of the publication(s) that you are aiming to get your PR covered in helps. For the purposes of the press release it’s about knowing the different article sizes, word count and styles of articles they publish. This way you can tailor your feature and write the correct amounts of words to fit their usual story size.

Then, it helps if you have a good relationship with the editor/journalist. I always try to get to know my local contacts socially. I don’t get any preferential treatment, but it helps to know what should definitely interest them about a story headline and what is an instant delete!

Now on to the actual press release!

If you’re really looking to get media coverage  being able to write an effective press release is an essential skill. 

TIP 1 – Make sure your story is newsworthy

Question numero uno – is it really news or is it a story about your company – i.e. are you after FREE advertising?

Without a strong story line I can assure you that your story about a new exciting product launch, new starter or event is destined for the trash bin!

Before drafting your press release, it’s worth asking yourself these questions:

  • What’s new about your story
  • Can you add a spin that makes it unusual or unexpected
  • What will make people care and want to read your story?

Tip 2 – Making it past the subject field scan read

Journalists get hundreds of emails every day, so stating what your press release is about in the subject field is vital. Never just put press release. State the facts. Never be creative or cheesy. That is the sub editors job!

So if your story is about the the launch a new office bringing jobs to the region – say that. “Insurance broker opens Nottingham office and creates ten jobs”.

Tip 3 – Keep their interest

If an editor cannot gain the who, what, where, when and why from the first para the story is again doomed to the trash can. This is different for longer length feature  articles where a more classical introduction to the facts about the article may be required, but for the press release you need to get past this stage, so don’t make it hard for the journalist. Your first sentence has to grab and retain their attention.

Tip 4 – Add rest of information in decreasing importance

The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side or about 300 to 400 words. That’s just three or four short paragraphs and a couple of of quotes. If yours is longer than that, you’ve probably got unnecessary words that aren’t needed. Re-read it and make it as concise as possible. Make it easy for the editor to shorten the article. Do the “cut” test!  This means reading the write the press release such that should any one subsequent paragraph get cut out – would the article still make sense and get across the same message?

Don’t be tempted to include background information about your company in the opening paragraph. An immediate sales pitch is a solid turn off.

This, along with any other additional information, goes in a “notes to editors” section at the end, normally on page two with contact details should the editor want more information to expand the story further. If it’s a good story you will be surprised by how often this happens.

If an editor does get in touch, treat them like your best customer. This will help you with future PR. Think about what they have asked and reply promptly. If you need time to think say so, ask their deadline, write down your answers and get back to them before the deadline!

Tip 5 – Quotes

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