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Journalists are inundated with information at every moment of every day. Providing them with a well-thought-out and clearly written press release could very well be the best way to get their attention.

Being responsible for the distribution of press releases for mononews, I certainly see a lot of releases. I thought it would be appropriate to share what I’ve come to appreciate as best practices in the creation of effective press releases.

1. Information should be simple, clear and concise. Too often I get to the end of a press release and I still don’t know what the release is about. Is this a new product launch? An invitation to an event? I don’t have a clue.

When this happens, I re-read the text, sometimes two or three times, in order to understand the objective. I have to take the time to read the entire press release (it’s part of my job) but if I was in the journalists’ shoes, chances are it would be quickly deleted. And all the trouble and time to prepare and write the release would be for nothing.

Important to avoid – jargon! It’s often boring and frequently off-putting. Remember, you’re not talking to your colleagues who are plugged in to your culture.

REMEMBER: Clear, direct, descriptive language gets read.

2. Reread your text. Even better, have it read by someone who knows nothing about the subject matter. Ask this person to summarize the text in two sentences. This will quickly let you know if you’ve made sure the essential message is clear.

Because people are overloaded with information, they read less and less. It’s probable your texts are just scanned. To ensure you hold your reader’s attention to the end, keep it short.

3. The reverse pyramid. Another element which can help make your release easier to read is the structure. The best way to present information is to start with the general and most important information and follow with the specific details, which are less important.

After reading the first 2- 3 lines of your press release, everyone should be capable of answering the following questions.

– WHO is the release about?
– WHAT is the release talking about?
– WHEN is the activity, event, action taking place?
– WHERE is it happening?

4. A picture is worth a thousand words. To add value to your press release, include relevant images (company logo, pictures of the product or event). Why not add a video? If visual elements are incorporated, it may heighten the journalist’s interest and make his/her job easier at the same time – no need to go looking for material.

5. Understand your target audience. It’s not enough to just put the information out there, it’s important to make your reader understand why this is important/relevant/useful to him/her.

Ask yourself if the reader will understand the information without doing research (because chances are that they won’t).

It goes without saying that people feel more engaged when spoken to directly. Producing different versions to specifically address the different concerns or needs for different groups of readers will help reinforce the local/specific interest – the « What’s in it for me » and give them more reason to use your release. Because it’s relevant.

Press releases can be a very effective tool to deliver a message and/or help build awareness. A last suggestion? Choose a news distribution service that showcases your release and ensures it gets to the journalists who specifically reach out to and are relevant for your target audience.

mononews is dedicated to lifestyle news. This means your press release won’t get lost in the ocean of business and financial news of other newswire services. mononews is the perfect environment for your lifestyle news.