Monday, 5 April 2010

:: day of diy :: How to write a press release 2

Letter Press by pink sorbet on flickr

Welcome the the second instalment of my guide on how to write a press release. (If you have just found me have a read over my last post to get up to speed.)

This week I want to talk about the content and feel to your press release. We all know how we get drawn in to a catchy headline, making us want to read on to get all the juicy details. The same goes for your press release, you want the editors to get soaked in and want to know more. This being said, I always leave the title until the end. It is much easier to write something catchy and related to your article once it has been written. So lets get onto the body of the article.

Firstly you want to get all your information onto 1 A4 sheet. No one wants to read your life story, and editors are busy people and get bundles of these through every day. On your A4 sheet you want to have one image about 5cm x 4cm at the top and all your contact info at the bottom. Pick a great photo, one of your current products, something related to what your going to be talking about. The image above gives you a guide for how much actual writing space you have.

OK, now lets get started on the content, your Lead paragraph. This is where you want to grab the readers attention and cover the 5 'W's - who, what, where, why & when.

Write in the 3rd person for press, Laura Baillie, she, they...... not for blogs etc which are more personal. We'll cover them later on.

Who - Give a little information about who you are, nothing epic, short and to the point.

What - What do you make, sell or service do you provide.

Where - where are you based, even down to where you work from. Do you knit in your Georgian house beside the fire or in a modern industrial unit?

Why - a quick couple of lines about what makes you stand out and why they should write about you.

When - when is your new collection, product launch or collaboration going to be available?

Remember to keep this all brief, this is just one paragraph to grab the readers attention, this is not the main section!! This bit is like a tasty starter.....

Now we move on to the Main Body of your press release, the main course. This is where you want to expand on the points you made above. What makes you or your products newsworthy?

Think locally first if you are sending this press release out to local newspapers and magazines.(This in my opinion is the best place to start, your local press are always excited to here about entrepreneurs.) Are you a woman who is earning your money crafting and bringing up a family? Would your story be inspiring to other women in your area? Do you use locally sourced materials, that always get people excited.

Expand a little on your background. Have you been drawing since you were 3, and exhibiting locally? Or have you been a nuclear physics lecturer, but now spend your days making ceramic ornaments? Keep in mind what is going to excite the readers.

Do you have a special technique you use, or use recycled materials? Let them know.

Now in this last section you want to summarise some of the points in your lead paragraph and the main body. Maybe pick 2 or 3 points. Don't introduce any new information here. This is a summery of what you have already mentioned. In this paragraph you want to cover what your business makes, sells, provides, where they can buy your items, and where you are based.

Then, as seen on the image above include your contact details.

Now you have the important stuff down, come up with a catchy headline. Nothing to wordy and nothing too profound, but something that will make this stand out.

This may take you some time to work through, and do take your time. Don't rush down some ideas and get all gun hoe. You'll end up sending out something shabby and half baked and it won't represent you or your business well. Remember to spell check everything, and maybe get someone else to read over it for you. It's always great to get another set of eyes to spot grammar mistakes or missing punctuation.

Lets meet up again next Tuesday for the next installment, Day of DIY Writing a Press Release - Making Contact. In the main time ask any questions you have and drop me note to let me know how you are getting on. x


Sandra said...

Hi Laura,

Very helpful articles, great to see it broken down into manageable pieces.


Megan Coyle said...

I like how you're sharing the process :) very helpful.

whitney-anne said...

Thanks again . . . it still seems a bit scary but guidelines like this demystify it and give you something to get to grips with.

ei! kumpel said...

great advice Laura, and just what I needed since I'm re-thinking my business and thinking about sending some press releases... looking forward to the next post!

x margarida