PR TEST: Are you press release savvy?

What makes a good press release, good? Why do some press releases get used word for word while others are tossed in the bin? What do you put in a press release to get noticed by the media? For answers to these questions make sure you pass our PR TEST…

P is for Provocative Headline

With hundreds of press releases and emails being sent to the media, you need to stand out from the crowd. A provocative and catchy headline that states your news simply can achieve this. A time poor journalist will often read the title and decide whether or not to keep on going! Keep it short and snappy, and remember that a leading or humorous heading will help catch a journalist’s eye more than a long and dare we say…boring one! Look at how print media writes headlines to provide you with inspiration.

R is for Readability

Say it simply with the most important information, your news, up front. Don’t assume the copy is clear to a reader just because it is clear to you. Reduce acronym use and always spell words in full in the first instance. If you are unsure as to whether your content has the ‘readability factor’ ask someone not from your industry to look over it. If they understand the content and what your news is, well done, you have explained it clearly. If not, then there is information missing that needs to be added to complete the picture, or the news is getting lost too far into the release. PR Guru can help review your press release for readability.

T is for Topical

Do you read the paper regularly? Do you know what is trending on Twitter or in online communities? If not, maybe it’s time to take notice as you could find an opportunity to profile your business. As a starting point, look for hot topics in the media– what are people talking about? If a positive news cycle is focusing on your industry, determine whether you have something new to add to the discussion. If so, include the newsworthy element in a release including the ‘who, what, when, where, how and why’ in the context of the trending topic. You may also like to comment via online sites such as Twitter with relevant and newsworthy information

E is for Enthusiasm

If you don’t sound enthusiastic about what your product can do, then don’t expect anyone else to be excited by it! You need to convey positive messages about your products and services, why they are great and what is new, novel and innovative about them. To develop effective messages think about why your customers come to you—what do they want solved and what is the benefit your product/service provides them? Then develop your messages with newsworthy angles.

S is for Sexy

Not all products are created with the ‘X’ factor in mind, but it doesn’t have to end there.  Use your wit, with a play on words, include funny anecdotes and celebrity involvement to up the factor and add some sheen! If you have a high profile spokesperson make sure you use them to generate interest in events you are staging or announcements you are making.

S is also for sponsorship and if your are a not-for-profit charity adding a celebrity to the mix will help to get you noticed—just make sure you align yourself with someone that suits the values of your organisation.

T is for Timely

If you know you have a launch or an announcement coming up, you need to communicate this to the media BEFORE or ON THE DAY of the event.  Nobody reads yesterday’s paper or goes to a party after it has been held; similarly journalists do not want to hear about your old news! Remember too, if you are targeting magazines they generally have long lead times so you need to let them know well in advance.

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