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Press releases — the oldest but most misunderstood tool of the PR trade

PART 2: 6 easy tips for writing better press releases

In the first part of my blog, I explored the importance of press releases and why they are still crucial for securing coverage, enhancing media relations, gaining consumer trust and telling stories. As promised, in this part I will be sharing six easy tips to help you write better press releases starting today!

  1. Create strong headlines using media hooks

Use short, strong headlines that capture the overall messages of your press release without the audience even having to read the rest. If you want to make it extra tempting for the media, throw in a media hook by thinking about what makes your news different, exciting, unique or spectacular.

  1. Your first paragraph is EVERYTHING

In your introductory paragraph, you should be focusing on the 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why. A perfect press release relies on short, straight to the point paragraphs that tell the news upfront. Only use your most important information in the first paragraph, and do not over work it.

  1. Your Why paragraph

Sometimes there isn’t room for the ‘why’ in your first paragraph, so don’t be afraid to add a short second paragraph. This gives you more room to explain the importance of the news without overworking the press release with long blocks of text.

  1. The human voice

In press releases, quotes provide the human tone of voice, thus ‘humanising’ your news. Use your quote to:

  • Explain the bigger picture behind your news
  • Add new information and avoid repetition of details that have already been used in press the release
  • Communicate why/how the press release will benefit the reader
  • Reassure the public/stakeholders and strengthen confidence
  1. Additional important details

All extraneous details should be neatly contained in an additional paragraph. They could include details like how a product works or what workshops an event will feature. These details are ‘nice to know’ but not essential, hence their placement towards the end of the release.

  1. Grand finale — Hooray you made it!

Just like when you were writing an essay back in school, your final paragraph should sum up the entirety of the press release. It can be used for several crucial reasons including:

  • Reminding the reader of the key messages
  • Providing website links
  • Adding a concluding quote, if necessary
  • Listing sponsors/partners, if applicable

Press releases vary widely depending on the news, but as a final bonus tip, always aim to keep your press releases within an A4 page if possible. In today’s busy world, make the media’s life easier by providing them with a press release that is a joy and a breeze to read.

Antoine Boghos is the Account Executive of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. | www.cbpr.me