How not to write your own press release

Don’t put “Press Release” in the subject line 

Your subject line is there to do one thing and one thing only. It needs to grab attention. Don’t start it with “Press release: …” because people have some (debatably legitimate) preconceptions about how interesting press releases may be.

If you’re sending out a mass email, chances are something interesting is happening. Get to the point as soon as possible in your subject. Test a few different ones in the office or with friends and see what makes people want to open it more.

If someone opens your email, congrats! You got the job done with your subject line.

Don’t go overboard on the capitals 

Endless lines of capitals aren’t going to hold anyone’s attention, but they will annoy a lot of people. No one wants a email of shouting! If you’re going to use caps lock in a press release, do it once and once only. Giving your press release a headline is a great idea, making the whole email a headline will get you blacklisted by your audience.

Don’t start with the date

Including a date in your press release is all a matter of priority. The email needs a call to action. That call to action will nearly always be “write about this amazing story”. Journalists and bloggers are more likely to schedule in time to write about your story if you give them a specific time it should happen.

Giving an embargoed date and time is great, but it isn’t the most important part of the email. Bring attention to it as a final call to action, not as an introduction to what you’re talking about.

Don’t send out hi-res images with every email 

If you want to slow down your emails, block up people’s inbox and generally annoy your audience, include hi-res images in your initial email. While pictures are a great way to grab attention, you need to be careful you don’t overdo it.

Another reason to hold back on your best pictures is that, if a journalist has to come back to you for them, you can start to build a relationship with that person. No press release should ever be about one request for one blog, you should always be looking for opportunities to interact and get to know your list of influencers.

Don’t talk about yourself more than what you offer

The people you’re emailing are busy, and easily bored. You need to be direct about what’s interesting in your story and what they should write about. The number one rule of writing a press release is: stop waffling.

You have something to say that other people might be interested in, so just say it. Make an order of priority for the different aspects of your story and knock them down, one by one, as quickly as possible. You don’t know how long anyone will read your email for, so make sure the best bits are as close to the top as possible.

 

There are five ways to get your press release completely wrong. If you want more tips on how to get a press release spot on, check out our guest blog from Lyndsey Whiteside here.

 

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