How to prepare a press release
- Plan your press release: Think about the purpose of the press release and what do you want to gain from it. Also consider the sort of publications you want the story to appear in (e.g. which publications your customers may read). Look at the style and tone of other articles in these publications and write your press release accordingly.
- Write for your audience: The story must be newsworthy and this may differ depending on whether you're targeting national, local or trade media. You may need to tailor your press release to target different publications.
- Make it easy to use: You can do this by presenting the press release in a simple, easy to read format, using simple language, a descriptive heading and keeping your press release succinct. Add your contact details and social media and website links so that a journalist can get in touch easily.
- Establish your credibility: You should always include some information about yourself and your company, but keep this brief and separate from the main body of the release.
- Consider using quotes: Quotes that are informative and support the main story in your release can be very useful to reporters.
- Provide additional information as necessary at the end of the press release e.g. explanation of scientific terms, health implications etc.
Tips for successful press releases
- Start the press release with the most important information as you have a very limited window to engage the reader.
- Ensure accessible language is used (avoid the over-use of scientific and cumbersome terminology).
- Proofread and re-proofread to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
- Provide contact information (telephone and email) and links to your website and social media accounts (the latter are important if the media want to access additional information).
- Ensure ‘key bloggers’ are included on press release distribution lists (and are invited to physical events).
- Ensure press releases are distributed via ‘wire’ and ‘online’ services.
- Include links to your social media channels and websites.
- Use comments and feedback received via social media to monitor if the press release has been received and understood.
- When queries are directed to press offices, ensure they are adding value to the communication process and not acting as a barrier to media accessing ‘expert’ content.
- Respond quickly to specific enquiries from the media, particularly in food risk/crisis scenarios.