Venturefest Bristol & Bath and SETsquared Bristol recently offered an afternoon’s practical workshop full of top tips for the novice writer and those needing a refresher.
Here are some of the top tips:
1. Attract your audience
What makes you want to read a news release? For many, the article needs to be topical or pique interest – this can be serious news or more social. Does your headline grab attention?
Don’t forget to include a headline; sub-headline; image and contact details for the editors.
2. Think about your reasons
What’s your reason for writing a press release? Do you want to inform people or get them to act? Or is it a bit of both? Think about what you want to achieve and write down your top three reasons for your press release, this will help you focus!
3. Feed your editor
Give your journalist or writer as much information as possible. Your piece is much more likely to get in the paper or trade journal if you have done all the hard work for them.
Shape the content; give a good headline; study the local papers or trade press to get a feel for the style and this will hint at where you can shape your story to get the most coverage.
4. Have you got everything you need?
What needs to be in place to make your press release a success? Have you got your contacts ready? Do any images need permission to be used? Have you got all the information you need to make your press release a success?
5. Tell the truth
A useful mnemonic is TRUTH: Is your press release, Topical; Relevant; Unusual; Trouble (problem solving and Human? Try to use these ideas to keep your press release on track!
A good structure will make your press release an easy sell. Start with an attention grabbing headline, with an optional sub heading.
You can use paragraphs to add structure to your press release. Start with all the key information in the first one and then unpack the rest of the story.
Add in some believable quotes to give the story a human touch. This helps with empathy and adds character and insight to the piece.
Images can help to tell the story too but don’t forget those permissions!
Leave a section for your contacts and a section for any notes you wish to tell the editor.
Another top tip is to match your language to your target audience. Read the press release out loud, does the language sound convincing and day to day?
7. Can you answer the five W’s?
Who. What. Why. Where and When. Make sure your story incorporates these pieces of information into your press release.
8. Check your story
Review and edit your press release in stages:
- Developmental editing (big chunk)
- Copy editing (paragraph level)
- Proof reading (fine detail)
Get someone else to read it through and offer suggestions. Don’t forget to fact check your story and make sure you’ve addressed any issues!
We’re pretty sure that with these great tips you’ll be writing like a pro in no time!
If you want any further information on this and other events as part of the Venturefest Series please visit our What’s On page.