It’s an ongoing and rather exhausting debate within PR precincts: What role does the traditional press release play in a digital age? Some PR pros argue that amidst a growing number of tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube channels, the press release no longer packs much of a punch when it comes to getting your message out.
However, others insist that the press release has not lost its value and—with some modernizing to reflect how people now consume information—will remain a trusted communication tool among brands and organizations of all stripes.
No doubt, the press release will continue to evolve. But whatever new form it takes, the fundamentals of writing a solid press release (that will get read by the intended audiences) are not going away anytime soon.
With that in mind, here are several tips on how to construct an effective press release, with compliments to Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of InkHouse.
• Begin with a question. “What is the number one thing holding women back from upper management?”
• Eliminate the “XYZ company is the leading provider of blah blah blah today announced....”
> Demonstrate that leadership through proof, not words.
• Begin with a strong statement that is contrarian
> “In five years, people won’t drive cars anymore.”
• Shows. It does not tell.
• Communicates the facts; think fewer adjectives, more proof.
• Is written at the third-grade reading level. Yes, really.
• Is short. Shoot for 400 words.
Use of quotes:
• Never write the words “very excited” in a quote. Give it meaning.
• Don’t be afraid of a little controversy. A spokesperson doesn’t have to disparage the competition, but a quote that is contrarian to others is a great way to spark interest.
• Write in succinct sound bites. Read quotes appearing in articles and replicate them.
What would you add to these various lists?
Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1
Follow Beth Monaghan on Twitter: @bamonaghan