The press release is a key item in the communicator's toolkit, but it is only effective if it is a well-crafted instrument that tells your brand's story in a way that grabs media and public attention. The best release operates on several levels: it communicates ideas and information, it cuts through the clutter to draw media interest, it prompts a follow-up for more details and it promotes your brand.
Dan Ronan, senior director of communications at the American Bus Association, and Elizabeth Hillman, senior vice president of communications at Discovery Education, have some thoughts on putting together a quality press release.
- Is it press worthy? Don't put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, unless the information being conveyed is timely, relevant and has a significant human interest angle.
- Write a headline that grabs attention. Make a great first impression with a factual headline that rings bells and makes people continue reading.
- Use powerful quotes. Use the words of people closest to the story, but be sparing. Quotes are like seasoning - a proper amount improves the taste, too much ruins the meal.
- Use supporting materials. Photos, videos and/or hyperlinks to related online content are essential to a good press release. Bring as much information as necessary to make the story complete.
One final note on connecting with reporters: Be mindful that they are frequently pressed for time. The more you can help them with the relevant information and the more courteous you are, the more likely they are to be responsive.
Follow Elizabeth: @lizziewdc
Contact Dan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Richard Brownell: @rickbrownell