Written from Experience

Writing an Effective Press Release

Media organisations receive hundreds of Press Releases daily, so it’s important to deliver a release that will get noticed.

As Journalism Masters graduate, I understand how to craft a press release that will spark a journalist's imagination. I think the trick to writing a successful press release that journalists will act upon, all comes down to crafting copy that is succinct, direct and informative. I believe you should ignite the journalist’s interest with the title and first sentence. The release is essentially an inverted pyramid with the most important information or the reason for the release contained in the first paragraph.

Take these examples.

Little Travellers Postcard Campaign
To coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Little Travellers Australia, in conjunction with Avant Cards, are proud to announce an Australian postcard campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

CSU: First Aussie to put Touch-to-Talk on their website
Charles Sturt University have embraced Delacon's telephony product, Touch-to-Talk, as the first Australian University to utilise the emerging technology.

In Her Own Words, A Celebration of Humanity and Universal Love
One year on, visual artist Kevin Bathman remembers the life and legacy of Malaysian visionary, Yasmin Ahmad with a new digital art exhibition. Using Yasmin’s own blog as inspiration, Kevin has blended her own words with striking visual images to create an art series as progressive as Yasmin’s own thoughts.

When reading these opening statements, there can be no doubt what the press release is promoting and why the release is being sent at this time. As news is immediate, everyone needs to feel like they're covering the most recent events. Therefore creating a 'sense of urgency' and a timely aspect for the release is important.

Ideally, you'd like the journalist to interview the key talent about the endeavour or event. However, to cater for media outlets, who’d like to do an article without interviewing the key talent, I always include a quote that the journalist can use in their piece. The quote should always reflect the views and opinions of the key people. It should be strategic, include further information and also be slightly emotive.

For example in the HIV/AIDS Charity release I included:
Coordinator, Justin Koonen said, “We know the bead workers who make the dolls. Despite the hardships they face, there is a sense of resilience, an openness and a real sense of community among the people we met on a visit to the region. They are truly inspirational. But I hope this post card campaign will focus attention to their plight and create change for the better.”

In the delacon release I wrote:
Delacon's Chief Technology Officer, Michael Center said, "Places of educational excellence should be at the cutting edge of technological advancement. I am thrilled that Charles Sturt University have seized the initiative to demonstrate to their perspective students they are willing to define the future."

The response to these releases was considerable and everyone was very happy with the publicity. 

Read more articles on print copywriting.