Writing a Press Release that Gets Attention

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First time to write a press release?  Go and visit virtualassistant.ph to learn about writing a press release that gets attention! You will definitely need a checklist for this.

21974148 - make a difference
21974148 – make a difference

As mentioned in one of my articles, VAs nowadays have evolved from giving general assistance to providing specific and special support.  One of the assignments business owners can delegate is writing a press release for any of the following: events, promotions, new products or services, achievements or accomplishments, etc.

It can be a first to some VAs so here is a checklist for writing a press release that gets attention.

Gage relevance of a particular story and check if a press release is needed

Your aim is for the story to get across and grab the attention of your target – the press and the media.  You have to ask yourself first – Does the story warrant a release?  To explain further, you have to assess if your story has news value, or else, journalists won’t consider a coverage.

Research about your target audience – press and media

It is important to know what’s in the news, what is being talked about lately, or who among the journalist would take interest in your story, or what is the tone and style currently being used.  You may need to know their work deadlines so that your press release email will get the desired attention.

Answer the 5Ws

Your knowledge about the basics in information gathering, the 5Ws, will be harnessed.  From The Marketing Donut, here are the questions you need to answer in your press release draft:

  • Who are the key players? Who does your news affect? Who does it benefit?
  • What is new?
  • Why is this important news? Why is this different?
  • Where is this happening?
  • When is the timing? Is this significant?
  • How did this come about?

Learn about a press release’s format

The structure of your press release is very important.  Your mastery of the format is a requirement to create an effective piece.  Here are the rules:

  • Top of the page – write FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, left margin, or EMBARGOED UNTIL followed by the date you want the story released.
  • Headline – center of the page below FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, or EMBARGOED UNTIL…
  • Subhead – below headline, in italics
  • First paragraph – starts with the date , or where it’s coming from
  • Second paragraph – secondary info and facts
  • Third paragraph – provides quotes
  • Fourth paragraph – referencing websites & ordering, or mentions other products in development, e.g.
  • Boiler information – more about the company and its mission, core business and policy, , with title About, and with 5 to 6 lines after this title
  • Contact information – more about the writer, details about key people, is limited and specific only to the press release; must include company’s official name, media department’s official name and contact person, office address, telephone and fax numbers, mobile number, email address, website address, or a URL, 3 hash tags or the word END in bold letters as end of release

Use a photo if necessary

You can add a note saying that a photo is available in the Notes to the Editors.  Even if a photo is the fastest way to get the message across, ensure that it has something to do with your press release.  If possible, contact a branding agency regarding your idea for a photo.

Now that you have this checklist, start writing a draft press release for your client! Practice does not make perfect but almost perfect.

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Maria Narissa Aranzanso is a content writer and blogger who can produce a wide variety of content for the web and for online consumption. She delivers work with integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and competency.

Maria Narissa has a day job as internal quality audit head, and document control in-charge, too, for the QMS of a manufacturing company in the Philippines. As IQA head, she is in charge of the internal audit program and audits, which is one of the organization’s tool for quality control. The job as document control in-charge, on the other hand, entails a lot of writing and includes creation of system procedures, work instructions, guidelines, and other related documents.

She has a passion for new technologies, too, which she believes can help a lot in the digital nature of the work. She researches, writes, and edits web content from scratch; writes web content based on material supplied by a client; and/or edit web pages for on-screen readability.

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