We all know someone who can’t help but go into too much detail when telling a story: getting to the point takes so long that by the time they’re there, we’ve tuned out. The punch line loses its ‘punch’ because even though the tale was [eventually] fantastic, the key message was bogged down by a barrage of unnecessary detail.
“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”
Sadly, it’s not guaranteed that your press release will be picked up by every journalist, magazine, newspaper or website on your wish list. Their interest depends on what else is in their editorial calendar including planned features, seasonal trends, news & current affairs, etc. And of course, how much they buy into your message.
The best way to improve the odds of your press release being picked up is to tell an interesting and concise story. And that may mean skipping over some of the details of how you got to be where you are.
Yet the right amount of detail is crucial to add context, so how much information is too much?
Keep it brief & on target: 200 – 400 words for a press release is ideal. Use simple, clear language and avoid rambling paragraphs, especially in your introduction. Make your story topical and relevant. Remember, a press release is different from an editorial, so only use elements of your backstory that are pertinent to the story at hand.
Be your own editor: write your first draft, sit on it for a few hours then go back with fresh eyes and remove details that make the story more concise (without putting holes in your overall message). Do this several times until you have a vibrant, accurate and engaging read.
- Leave some of your emotion at the door: it’s natural you feel very close to all the details of how you got to be where you are. Focusing on key backstory facts allows you to pick & choose the details that will enhance your press release, not drown it.
- Think like a journalist: all media professionals – particularly for larger or national publications – are busy! They receive multiple press releases every day which means you have a very short window of time to grab their attention. Make your time count.
- If in doubt, include footnotes: If you feel there are too many details for you to leave out entirely, include a ‘notes to the editor’ section at the end of your release. Also include contact details for further enquiries; a journalist or reader may wish to contact you for more information.
Writing a press release is an exciting step for your business because it means you have news, an event, or reached a milestone that the world will want to hear about.
Casting a critical eye over your writing and adopting an outsiders perspective on your key message will allow you to form a newsworthy press release that grabs attention for your brand and attracts new audiences to your products and services.
For advice on professional press release writing or to find out how In The Bag PR can help you reach your business goals, please contact Sophie or Pippa on the details below: