media update’s Nakedi Phala reveals how media practitioners can write a PR release that stands out. 

In order for your press release to gain publicity, you need to ensure that your brand’s story is in the correct tone of voice, especially when it comes to the message you’re trying to convey.

For instance, if you’re writing a press release about a CSI initiative, you need to ensure that the tone is sincere and avoid being promotional — while keeping your brand’s voice in mind.

But that’s just the beginning. Get ready, because ...

Here are three ways how you can create an impressive press release:

1. Start with a winning headline 

As the world of writing has become more digitally-focussed, the demands of a headline have shifted too. Not only does it have to catch the reader’s eye, it also has to include appropriate SEO keywords and use between 30 and 50 characters maximum. 

A headline is like an advert for your press release, so you have to make sure that it is both informative and persuasive. Doing this will entice your audience into reading the rest of the content. 

Since the headline plays the role of an advert for your news, you will need a subheading if you’re dealing with a lot of information, which should touch on the highlights of the press and drive the audience into reading the rest of the press statement. 

2. Include impressive body copy

Your introduction sets the tone for the rest of your press release — so it had better be good. It should captivate your reader, cut to the chase and give a brief overview of what the press release is about. The introduction should be engaging and box-fresh.

For the body text, you should think like a journalist and use their fundamental formula:
  • Who does it concern? 
  • What happened, is happening or is going to happen? 
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Why is the event happening?
  • How did it happen? 
This formula can help you sort out the raw information you have at hand, allowing you  to pack your press release into one idea per paragraph, instead of jumping from idea to idea. 

Try to use words that will make your press release stand out, but don’t get too  bombastic or else you might make your reader feel disconnected; rather use standard synonyms. 

In the last sentence of each paragraph, write something that hooks the reader to the next paragraph. 

A good writer knows when to end a sentence or paragraph; long paragraphs put too much weight on an idea. Try to keep your paragraphs between three and five lines to make is easy to read. This will create a flawless cue for the reader.

Use supporting details. Attach pictures, links, statistics and quotes as it will add value to your press release, making it interesting to read and useful for media practitioners. 

Having written your body text and expressed all your ideas, summarise your ideas without rewriting what is in the body copy. Include an open-ended question or  persuasive statement that will persuade the reader to act. 

3. Edit the copy

Before sending out your press release — edit the copy first.

The editing phase can be divided into three parts: 
  • Scan through the whole copy from headline through to the conclusion to root out spelling errors and syntax errors. 
  • Ask a colleague to review the content to ensure that you’re using the correct tone and that the content flows nicely. 
  • Scan through the press statement again to make sure you have written a good, readable press release.
Whatever the purpose of your press release, take time to carve it out? — it’s art, after all. Make sure you have included all the necessary information in the correct format.

Your conclusion is your do or die moment, so use persuasive language. A persuasive tone can convince the audience to accept your view, product or service.

What do you think makes for an impressive press release? Let us know in the comments section below.

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A well-written press release is a good opportunity to distribute your content across different media platforms. Find out how  you can improve your writing skills with these Six lessons in storytelling for PR professionals.