In 2020, we are consuming more news than ever before. Whether keeping up with the latest health news or attempting to fill endless hours, we are turning to social channels and news apps to discover and learn. This provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to catch audience attention. But this opportunity comes with some specific considerations.
There are fewer reporters today on hand to fill this massive need for content. This means newsrooms are working harder and faster than ever before. Reporters need news content to fill their pipelines. Reporters are actively looking for relevant, useful news and information they can share with their audiences.
So, how do you catch a reporter’s eye with your news release? It’s simple.
Create and distribute a complete news package – a news release with a strong, relevant headline, useful data points and multimedia imagery designed to appeal to news media readers, not your company’s marketing audiences. Follow these steps to write a news release:
Kick off your release with a bold and blunt headline.
Your headline is the gatekeeper to your news content. To write an attention-grabbing headline, use these four steps from award-winning writing coach, Ann Wylie, CEO of Wylie Communications:
- Be concise – try to keep your headline to 5-8 words
- Focus on your audience, not your company or product
- Use an exciting verb
- Skip adjectives and adverbs
If you’re focusing on online audiences, consider using Google Trends to identify if your chosen words match user search terms.
Hook with your sub-headline.
Sub-headlines are not seen until the news release is opened, so don’t hide key information here. Instead, use this space to continue the story your headline tells. Be brief, ideally a single sentence in length.
Connect with multimedia.
The entire world speaks in images now. Reporters use images to draw in viewers. To increase media coverage opportunities of your news, you must include a visual element in your press release. Reporters cannot publish an article without one. Do not reuse your organization’s marketing content – instead add an image or video created for reporters to use. Take the time to create a new multimedia asset – a photo, image card, GIF or video – that shows how your news impacts your audience, but without the sales pitch.
Craft readable body copy.
When it comes to writing the body of your press release, we follow Ann Wylie’s best practices of using formatting to help tell your story. Use bolded headers, bullets, and italics to emphasize your key points.
- 1st paragraph: The first paragraph of your news release is a short (30-word) summary of your news. This should contain the description and impact of your news. It should be self-contained and able to tell your story in full, on the off-chance people choose not to read further. A portion of this paragraph often appears in search engine results snippets, so use this space to entice readers to open, not to reiterate who you are. Include a link to your company and key landing pages here.
- 2nd paragraph: The second paragraph of the press release should contain your supporting quotes from someone within your organization. This could be your CEO or product manager and usually is presented as the company expert or leader. This quote outlines the why of your product and service.
- 3rd paragraph: The third paragraph of your release should feature your supporting data in list format. Use this section to provide product specs, usage data or outside feedback on your product and service. This can be expert data, customer quotes or both. When providing the data support for your news, use bullets to make it easy for reporters to use.
- 4th paragraph: The last paragraph of your release is a short summary, outlining the key rationales and impact. Do not forget to include hyperlinks back to any additional key data.
- 5th paragraph: This paragraph is your boiler plate. This is the summary of your company and includes links to your key landing pages.
Include contact information.
Make it easy to get in touch. Every useful news release includes contact information so the reporter can easily obtain additional content or details directly from someone at your organization. Include a number or email address that is monitored frequently to ensure you see and respond to these queries in real-time.
Now, test your work.
Now that you’ve written your news release, it is time to test your work. Ask a co-worker or friend to read your release and to reiterate the key points. This will tell you if your audience connected with your message, or if revisions are needed.
In 2020, there is real opportunity to secure the kind of editorial coverage that moves prospects in and through your sales funnel. All you have to do is provide reporters with the highly relevant textual and visual news content that impacts their readers. Follow our steps for writing a powerful news release to maximize this chance.
- Sample press release
- How-to Guide: Instructions on Writing a Reporter-Friendly News Release Featuring Best Practices from Ann Wylie, Wylie Communications
- How to use Google Trends to write a headline
- Owning the Visual Conversation
- 32 media relations tips to maximize your coverage opportunities
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