NeonDrum Masterclass: Creating a Cracking News Release
Back in November we exhibited at The Business Show at the Olympia Exhibition Centre. On our stand, we met many attendees who were interested in our news distribution service, however we also fielded several questions about the basics of writing news releases and whether we could help.
The answer, of course, is yes! In response to a growing number of customer requests, we recently began offering a full press release writing facility plus a “review and revise” service, and it’s an area in which customers are often looking for expert guidance. So without further ado, here is NeonDrum’s Masterclass: Creating a Cracking News Release.
This will obviously be industry-dependent and there are no hard and fast rules here although, naturally, a level of professionalism and clarity is required. If it’s a release exclusively targeted at a savvy industry audience then you can afford to be more technical. A news release distributed online, however, may well be picked by less focussed or niche audiences and news sites, and therefore a more approachable style often pays dividends.
The priority when writing a release is to keep it brief, informative and accurate – including double-checking for spelling and grammatical errors. Also make sure the announcement includes all your company’s and products’ keywords, preferably in “the language of the buyer” for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes and to enhance your ability to be found in natural search.
The headline needs to be an attention-grabber, as it will inevitably be one of the first things the reader sees. It’s on the basis of the headline that most people will make the snap judgment: “Is this communication relevant to me?”, and decide whether to continue reading.
You should ensure that your headline features both your company name and key words (product category and the audience served). Not only will this help to optimise your brand’s profile but is also a must to enhance SEO. Keep it short, ideally under 10 words if possible. It’s also preferable to keep it straight. The primary job of a press release is to clearly get your message across – leave the witty puns to the journalist.
The focus of a press or news release is to inform and educate. The recipient of a release isn’t going to hunt for any additional information. Your release needs to get to the point of the story and it needs to do so immediately, within the first few lines.
A good place to begin is with The 6 Ws: Who, What, Why, Where, When & hoW
You’ll need to know all this information before you can begin writing the release. By covering these crucial details in the first paragraph, you’ll know that your message will have hit home straightaway, even if people read no further. This initial paragraph can also serve as a complete story overview or description for the news sites that require it.
From here you begin adding in extra detail, expanding on the initial points.
THE INVERTED TRIANGLE
The body of a press release is often represented in the form of an inverted triangle. Essentially this is a visual aide to encourage writing a release with the information presented in descending order of importance. This doesn’t mean you should throw the kitchen sink in but it may help to navigate the ideal layout for a release.
Journalists love quotes! Used wisely, they can add welcome context, colour and commentary to a story. Get them in early so they don’t get lost – ideally second or third paragraph – try to avoid clichés, and make sure they add value to your release.
But first, ask yourself what the quote is doing. What are the benefits of adding it to the content? Is it really relevant?
Often the most successful and compelling quotes are those provided by an external party, which can add valuable credibility and authority to your messaging. This could take the form of a soundbite from a customer, beta user or even a supplier, and can be an effective compliment to a quote from your CEO.
Again, keep quotes short and sweet – generally two or three sentences maximum.
There is no prescribed length for a release, although it’s best to keep your release compact and minimise unnecessary waffle (you can always link to further information online). Aim for somewhere between 250 and 350 words and avoid going over 400, not including notes.
The boilerplate company description is an essential inclusion, as it helps provide a clear, capsule overview of the issuing company. Aim at between 100 – 200 words, giving a quick outline of the organisation’s aims and activities. If you have included a quote from any third party, add their boilerplate afterwards as well, so that their contribution is in context.
Web links and contact details are a must – always include your own company website and any landing pages to the announcement.
So, those are our brief tips on creating a cracking press release. We hope they’ve been helpful. If you have anything to add or any questions, please get in touch via our Twitter or Facebook pages. Enquiries for NeonDrum’s release writing services should be sent here
Blog Posts: for tag: PR
3rd February 2014, by: Claire
Tags: NeonDrum, press release distribution, content, curate conversation
NeonDrum Masterclass: Creating a Cracking News Release
3rd September 2013, by: Claire
Tags: NeonDrum, press release distribution, content
Top 5 Misconceptions of Press Release Distribution
16th January 2012, by: Nicky
Tags: newswire, electronics, pr, events
We are the Official Newswire for National Electronics Week