The Power of the Press Release: Writing Skills and PR
This post was written by Harriet Sharp, Account Manager @LexisAgency
As professional communicators, we all know that using the right language can be incredibly powerful in ensuring your clients are recognised by the right audiences on the right platforms.
Strong written content is a crucial tool in the PR industry; an attention-grabbing press release can make a journalist sit up and take notice, whilst a cleverly worded tweet can get someone to consider a brand in a whole new light.
But, in an age when editorial space is at a premium, attention spans are shorter than ever and social channels are crammed with brands vying for consumer attention, it is becoming increasingly difficult to produce written content which stands out from the crowd.
So, what’s the best way to ensure your writing makes an impact on the right people?
- Tone of Voice – The average national journalist receives several hundred emails from PRs a day and spends less than a minute reading each, so a long-winded, humdrum press release is more than likely to be destined for the bin.
Whilst it might sound obvious, highlighting the most important part of your story in your introduction– is it a new product? A world first? An exclusive partnership or announcement? – and using punchy, vibrant language and a killer headline goes a long way to convincing a journalist your story is worth writing about.
- Cut the Waffle – How often have you felt your concentration slip when reading a long or complicated sentence? With busy lives and a million distractions surrounding us (from that email in your inbox to considering what to have for lunch), the human brain needs as much help as possible to remain focused.
Keep your sentence structure concise so it is easily digestible and make sure the first two paragraphs cover the main points of your press release – ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ – before going into intrinsic detail. The perfect press release shouldn’t require a journalist to ask any further questions about your campaign.
- Attention to Detail – Know the difference between ‘your / you’re’, ‘it’s’ / ‘its’ and ‘then / than’. What might be a simple spelling mistake can imply a lack of care to the person reading your release – why should they bother to read it if you haven’t sent them the best possible version?
So, in today’s hectic world of work let’s make sure we set aside the time to provide strong written comms. With attention-grabbing video and picture content, written materials can often be an afterthought when pitching to media. Spending time re-reading your press release, pitch email or tweet before pressing send can ensure valuable results.