Communicating effectively with the media is not easy, in a world where everyone wants to be known, but only those who do it right can succeed.
But what does this mean? It means that the media receives hundreds of press releases every day and does an important job of selecting the material that really matters to the public and what is not likely to become news. However, the crisis in the press means that there is less and less human resources available to work and to carry out this sorting of material, which often passes by without anyone noticing it. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to communicate assertively and, more than that, prominently, to attract the attention of the media.
One of the main ways of getting these messages out is through press releases. The press release is a written statement from a company, in which relevant information is given on a given topic and which may be worthy of becoming news.
But before you start writing your press release, there are a few factors you should take into account to understand whether you should do it or not:
- Relevance – is the information I want to convey relevant to the journalist and his audience?
- New – is it something new? Different? A new product or investment?
- Urgency – is the content current and must be disseminated urgently?
By answering these questions, you will be able to understand whether or not the information you are trying to convey will be noticeable on the other side.
Now that you know how to identify information that may or may not appear in a press release, how should you write a relevant press release for journalists?
Our first recommendation is that the press release should be written following the basic rules of journalism, that is, as if you were writing a news article.
So, you should always take into account the news values and the structure that your press release should have:
- The most important information first – if you are familiar with the inverted pyramid structure in journalism, this will not be completely new. But we explain: the inverted pyramid is the structure that defines how the information should come in a news article; the most important information at the top and, as the pyramid goes down, we narrow the information down and give more attention to details and to aditional information;
- Appealing title – the title is the first hook to attract the journalist’s attention, if he cannot grab it at first, he will hardly read the information you are relasing, no matter how relevant it is. The title should be eye-catching and clearly state what the press release is about.
- Subtitle or summary bullets – you can also benefit if, between the title and the first paragraph, you insert a brief subtitle or some bullets, in which you summarize the information that the journalist will find in the press release;
- First paragraph with the most important and essential information – Likewise, the first paragraph, following the structure of the inverted pyramid mentioned above, should be as clear as possible and give the most relevant information in the press release. In journalism, the first paragraph answers six fundamental questions: who, what, when, where, how and why?
- Date and location – all press releases must have, at the beginning, the date of release and the respective location from where the press release is being issued. It is also important to have the logo that identifies the company that issues the communication in the header;
- Body text – The rest of the text should, like the first paragraph, be clear and transparent and easy to understand, with a clear division of information by paragraphs and, whenever it makes sense, a statement made by a company spokesperson;
- Information about the company – at the end of the press release, you should always include a brief paragraph with information about the company, in order to contextualize the work of the company;
- Press Office contacts – in the end, it is always important to include the contacts of your company’s Press Office, with phone and email, so that the journalist can contact you in case of doubt or if they want a more in-depth interview on the topic.
If you check all these items, you will certainly have a complete and eye-catching press release. However, the work of communicating with the press does not end here. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will address several topics and give other tips to improve your relationship with the press.
You may also be interested in the article we wrote about how to overcome the fear of speaking to the press.
See you soon and be sure to contact us!
Rita Justo, press officer at Media em Movimento