Writing Winning Press Releases

Ten Tips for Writing Winning Press Releases

Editors today receive hundreds of press releases each day. What makes a good release that separates yours from the competition, one that grabs an editor’s attention?

  • Lead with the 5 “W’s”: who, what, when, where, and why. Editors are short-staffed and time-strapped. If you don’t hit them with the essentials in the first paragraph, they may not look beyond.
  • Be direct. Flowery prose may sound good in brochures, but it’s not appropriate in press releases. The job of the press release is to provide the basic ingredients in a clear, concise manner with flair. Leave the flavoring to the editor.
  • Keep sentences short. Short sentences are easier to read, especially for busy editors and reporters.
  • Stick to the facts. As Dragnet’s Jack Webb used to say, “The facts, ma’am, nothing but the facts.” If you make a claim (i.e. “We are the biggest and oldest,” etc.), be sure to back it up with supporting facts, such as how many passengers you accommodate, and when your company was founded.
  • Avoid superlatives. A good press release should be objective and avoid value judgments. When was the last time you saw words like “fantastic” and “fabulous” used in a travel article?
  • Eliminate jargon. This is especially important with consumer press. Eliminate techno-speak and industry lingo. Remember, the ultimate end user is the reader or viewer.
  • Tell the reader what’s in it for him or her. What is the benefit to the reader? Will he or she save money, learn “inside intelligence,” or become a more educated consumer?
  • Provide news. A new general manager or CEO may be important to your company, but ask yourself whether it will impact the consumer or the travel agent.
  • Find a timely “hook” or angle. Look for stories or trends in the news, for example: the rise of the Euro, weather events, special events or seasonal stories.
  • Avoid meaningless quotes. Sure the CEO or company president wants to be quoted, but unless you come up with real news and information, skip it.