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Tips for writing a brilliant press release, that gets accepted
- Research: Before you send out a Press Release make sure it is appropriate in content and style to the publication you are sending it to. An article written for Civil Engineers, full of complex knowledge, would not be suitable for a daily paper, and vice-versa, a piece written for your average reader might not interest an Engineer.
- Audience: Make sure your Press Release is going to the right publications to suit your audience.
- Targeting: It is never a good idea to shotgun your article out. It is good practice to write / customise the Press Release according to the type of publications, etc.
- Length: Never send a Press Release with less than 300 words or send just a photo, or video, without supporting text.
- SEO: Online publications use Search Engine Optimisation tools to make sure the articles they publish reach their targeted audience. Make sure your article includes the appropriate keywords and content to deliver the best online results.
- Images: Always include at least one image with your Press Release that can be used as a header image for online publication, and for use when the article is shared on Social Media. The more images the better, but don’t overwhelm the Editor with too many! Always include details on who to credit for the images. Publications will not publish images without knowing they have the legal right to do so. It is okay, even advisable, to send a few images with your Press Release, but if there are a lot, put them in a drop box and share the link.
- Image captions: Every image should include a suggested caption, which may be locations, people’s names or equipment models, etc.
- Video: Many publications like to edit video and put their text and watermark on. Always advise if this is permissible. Where possible include a link to your video on YouTube or Vimeo.
- Email Subject: Editors of mainstream media outlets get hundreds of emails everyday. To get their attention make your subject line stand out so it doesn’t get binned immediately – without them even opening it! Start the line with “PRESS RELEASE” and then your text, which must include an interesting hook to draw their attention.
- No waffling emails: Get to the point quickly and deliver your message clearly with no ambiguity, tell them what you’ve got and what you would like from them.
- Press Release text: Include the text of the press release under you email message, as well as in any attachments you send. Most Editors want to see what they are dealing with, without opening attachments, etc.
- Social media links: It is good practice to include your company’s social media links in the email, so the Editor doesn’t have to hunt for them.
- Social media hashtags: It is also a good idea to suggest possible hashtags that can used for sharing the article.
- PDF: Most Editors will want to copy your text and paste it into their editor. PDF file are notorious for breaking paragraphs and layouts, so it is better to include a Word doc file instead, better yet, include the text in the email body!
- Word Documents: Always put the headers and footers in the proper embedded areas, not in the body text, otherwise that information is copied as well, which takes the Editor time to remove.
- Keep it simple: Most Editor’s are far too busy to devote extra time to re-writing articles or translating designer PDF layouts into an article. They are more likely to bin anything time consuming or complicated, and will simply move on. So help yourself by writing the Press Release in the style of publication you are submitting to and make it easy for your work to be shared.
- Relationships: You will get more mileage by building a good working relationship with the Editor’s in your field. Always say please.., and thank you when they publish your releases.
- Rejections: Sometimes an Editor will reject your Press Release out of hand, with the email going straight in the bin. This might be because it doesn’t match their audience, or just because they’ve got too many come in at once. Never take it personally, just up your game!