As a senior in my final semester, writing an effective press release is arguably the most important PR skill I learned thus far. Thanks to some exceptional UD professors and an article from PR Daily, I learned a few tricks on how to write to impress:
- Remember your audience
Press releases are sent to journalists. The recipients of the message you’re conveying are not your boss, potential customers or event attendees. Press releases are meant for the eyes of journalists who may or may not publish your work. Catering to your boss’s every demand won’t get you published, but you can find a middle ground by incorporating clients’ objectives and goals while ultimately sticking to the facts. Remember, if the point of writing a press release is to garner media attention, save yourself, journalists and your client time by avoiding pure self-promotion.
- Use active voice.
Writing in passive voice kills a good press release. Passive voice distorts strong verbs (ex: wrote) by replacing action with a weak verb (ex: was written). To recognize passive sentences, try figuring out who or what is acting. Take this example: “The ball was thrown.” Does the ball throw itself? Who throws the ball? A subject needs to perform the action. A better way to say it: “I threw the ball.”
- Make the most of every word.
If you are writing to be published by the media, remember every word costs money. Get your point across with clear and concise language in order to communicate effectively and engage readers. Only use information that adds to the main point of what you’re trying to communicate. This also engages readers and keeps their attention.
Triple check your work, read it out-loud and utilize a second set of eyes!
Check, check and check your work again to make sure all information is accurate. Sending inaccurate “facts” to journalists that publish your work not only gets the journalist in trouble, but you also lose an important media contact.
Simplicity is golden. When writing to communicate effectively, your language should match the eighth grade reading level. It may be tempting to use big words and intricate sentence structure, but keeping your writing simple demonstrates intellect more. A successful press release tells the audience a message they can understand.
Finally, you can only edit your press release so many times before you’ve memorized it. In order to avoid missing errors, utilize a second set of eyes. Have colleagues read it over and give you feedback and suggestions. A fresh perspective always helps!
By: Brooke LeMunyon, senior mass communications major with minors in advertising and English. She currently serves as area mentor for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and is a brother in Alpha Phi Omega National Coed Service Fraternity. Follower her on Twitter, @brookelemunyon
Image From: www.cohesiveft.com