10 tips for writing a press release that gets results

Fri, Jun 07,2013 @ 08:59 AM
by Kathryn Lynch-Morin |

iStock 000022114772Large (2) (640x427)Have you ever wondered why you didn’t get a response after you sent a press release to your local newspaper or TV station about your continuing education program?

Maybe you missed the news angle or maybe your institution sends too many press releases. Whatever the reason, the whole point of a press release is to get it read and get the media to make contact.

Here are 10 tips that will help your press releases get results:

  1. Make sure you get to the point and get to it fast. If the reader is three paragraphs in and still doesn’t fully understand the point of the release, you’ve lost them and your chance at a story.
  2. Put real, timely news in your press release. This may seem like a given but as you’re writing, try to look at the news from an outsiders’ perspective and focus on what would be most interesting or important to them.
  3. Make sure you write a great headline or email subject line. “Really big news” is not going to cut it. Make your headline short, descriptive and limit it to one thought or concept.
  4. If you have relevant hard data, include it. Maybe enrollment in a certain program has increased 12 percent, or the average age of students has changed dramatically. Reporters find these sorts of tidbits interesting and can often lead to additional stories you hadn’t thought of.
  5. Don’t send a press release for every little thing. Nothing will get your press releases deleted faster than if you’re guilty of flooding editors’ inboxes. Editors and reporters don’t have the time or the desire to sift through it all. Send releases only for the most important news.
  6. Proofread. A glaring spelling error or bad grammar will make your press release, and your organization, look less than professional. You want your press release to be taken seriously, so make the proofreading and editing part of the process as important as the rest.
  7. If your press release is longer than one page, you’re in trouble. Tighten it up and let reporters know where they can find more information by including relevant links.
  8. Unless you can back them up with hard evidence, avoid superlatives. Reporters are skeptical and any press release that promotes the first ever, biggest, greatest or newest anything might not be taken seriously.
  9. Take an informational tone rather than a promotional tone with your release. Yes, a press release is a vehicle for promotion and the reporter knows that, too, but avoid language that is unashamedly promotional in nature.
  10. Include quotes but avoid using first person. Unless they appear in relevant quotes you’ve decided to include in your release, don’t use I, we or us.

And this should go without saying, but always include contact information and make it easy to find on the page.

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