Following on from Part 1 of this blog, here we look at how to write a press release.

Writing news

  • Make it topical. It should be clear what's new.
     
  • Keep it clear and simple. Use everyday language and avoid (or explain) all jargon, technical terms and acronyms. Write for the audience you are targeting.
     
  • Avoid ‘hyping up’ the information unless you can offer proof of your claims. Is your new product really 'state-of-the-art', 'leading edge', 'revolutionary', 'groundbreaking' etc. If it's not, don't use these words. If it is, explain why.
     
  • Put the most important things at the start of the story and background information towards the end.
     
  • Try to include the ‘the five Ws’: who?, what?, where?, when? and why?
     
  • Use quotes sparingly and only if they are relevant and interesting. They should sound like something someone could say, not what they have written.
     
  • Provide the telephone number and e-mail of people the journalist can contact for further information.
     
  • Keep it short. A maximum of two pages. The journalist will ask if they need more information.

Pictures

Send a good picture if you can, and make sure it has an informative caption.

A picture really is worth a thousand words. A good quality, relevant image can greatly increase the impact of your story. A poor quality, poorly composed or uninteresting picture will not be used. Avoid computer-enhanced ‘cleverness’ and remember that photographs of people shaking hands don’t usually grab the attention!

Remember that for print publications images need to be high resolution files – Reinforced Plastics requires a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.

Help

There are of course many public relations agencies which can help with publicity and press relations. But they can be expensive, and, in my experience, of very variable quality. Shop around and try to find someone who understands your business and the technologies involved. Technical information is particularly difficult to communication effectively.

If you are introducing a new product, make it clear what that product is. It's amazing the number of lengthy press releases I receive which never actually clarify what their wonderful new 'solution' or 'technology' is.

And finally, if you really have no time to devote to news releases, simply add the relevant publications to your mailing lists for new product literature, company newsletters, corporate mailings etc. These can often serve as sources of stories.

What next?

Once you’ve sent in your release, what then?

People often ask to see a story they have contributed to before it goes to print. However, unlike articles for technical journals, in the vast majority of cases magazines simply do not have the time to send out stories to contributors for checking before publication.

Monitor which publications and newswires are publishing your releases. If the information is published, most magazines will send contributors a copy of the published story if requested to do so.

If you’d like any advice on how to present your information, or have any questions about a magazine’s coverage, simply e-mail or call the editorial staff. Better to get your release correct first time than send it in and wonder why it's not been published. Remember, editorial staff are very busy and a press release which is poorly written, irrelevant or unclear will go straight into the bin!

Also remember to publish press releases on your own website and social media networks for maximum exposure. ♦
 


Amanda Jacob is the Editor of Reinforced Plastics magazine.