As a former news editor/foreign correspondent for an international news organization, I would conservatively estimate that at least 200 press releases flooded into the office everyday.
Consequently, less than 10% of the press releases received more than a cursory glance, and it is likely this figure is also true for many other editors, as there is insufficient time to read and comprehend press releases that fail to immediately capture our attention.
UKPROedits aims to provide some essential tips on how to draft press releases which stand a greater chance of avoiding ignominiously being filed in the dreaded “Recycling” bin.
1) “Punchy headline” – The headline should be concise, eye-catching, and briefly describe the topic. As a general rule, the headline should not exceed 7-8 words. Always ensure that all punctuation is omitted, and especially exclamation marks which scream out “unprofessional” to editors.
2) “The first paragraph should summarise the purpose of the press release and grab the attention of the editor” – Editors generally only have time to peruse press releases quickly, and this brief scan usually encompasses only the headline and the first paragraph.
Therefore, it is essential the first paragraph focuses on an angle which immediately grabs the editor’s attention, and illustrates why this story would be interesting to readers.
In short, there is little point inserting the most interesting facts in paragraph 6, as there is every likelihood it will not even be read.
Again, as a general rule, the opening paragraph should not exceed 3 lines.
3) Write press releases in a similar manner to news articles – Press releases must be written concisely. It is also important that the copy is assertive, professional and interesting. Thus, drafting a good press release is an extremely difficult task, even for professional writers.
** Avoid sales or marketing jargon for the simple reason that editors hate it. They will not give away free advertising space. Therefore, if if you crave publicity, you will have to earn it through writing exceptional copy.
To increase the chances of inclusion in a publication, the press release should ideally take a similar form to a news article. This will enable the editor to include and exclude any information with minimal amount of editing.
Press releases which warrant the least attention typically drone on about a corporation/individual, without specifying why they are important.
4) Background/historical information – Include some brief background or historical information, as this ensures the editor has immediate access to important factual information about key aspects of the topic in question.
5) Include all essential contact information – It is essential that all contact details are included at the end of the press release, as this enables the editor or journalist to contact the relevant PR officer with follow up questions, or acquire any additional information.
Also, if the press release is particularly well written, the editor may retain the contact information for future use
6) Send the Press Release to the correct editor/department – This sounds a little obvious, but it’s worth a mention. The editors or departments within a publication may be located on different floors or buildings, and so it is unlikely they will take the trouble to deliver the press release to the correct department on your behalf.
If you are unsure of the recipient, call and check the details first before sending it. This may also enable you to obtain the name of the editor, which allows the press release to be sent in a more personal and professional manner.
** Therefore, to maximise the chances of a press release being used by news editors, you should use the services of an experienced journalist or editor, who has extensive news writing/editing experience, to draft or edit your press release. This will result in a more professional press release, which increases the likelihood that it will be noticed and used.
For more information on UKPROedits’ corporate communication and translation services, please visit http://ukproedits.com/services/corporate-communication-pr/,or www.facebook.com/ukproedits.
SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
Please click here or visit our website to read an example of a press release that was drafted by Alan Low of UKPROedits for the Royal Thai Embassy in Rabat, Morocco. The press release was aimed at promoting a Thai festival in “Morocco Mall” in Casablanca, which is Morocco’s largest shopping mall.
The 4-day festival was aimed at introducing Thai culture to Moroccans, as part of a wider effort to increase Thailand’s economic and cultural presence in Morocco.
Kindly note that some parts have been omitted from the original press release, as it is only intended to be read as a sample.
The Thai festival in Casablanca was a huge success, attracting more than 200,000 people, and generating wide interest among print publications, TV and radio stations in Morocco.