Identify the angle
An occurrence in your business might be a big thing for you, but it might not really be news-worthy. You should learn to identify news from the non-news, and the particular angle which will make your news appealing to media houses.
Instead of dwelling greatly over ‘your’ business occurrence, focus instead on how this will benefit customers, how it is unique, and how it will set you apart from others in the industry.
Time your press release well. Ensure that it is written and circulated before a major event takes place in your business, or immediately after. You could also weave current trends, recent studies and events into your story to increase its relevance.
Ensure that the press release is written professionally, in grammatically correct language and with correct punctuations. Proofread it a couple of times, and rewrite if required. Your press release should be ready for publication with little or no modifications.
Use the active voice in writing, which will lend a sense of being current to the release.
Stick to facts, and do not hype things overly. Avoid redundant words and flowery language.
Make sure that your press release reads like one, and not like an advertisement.
Be crisp and clear
Your press release should be crisp and to-the-point. It should be concise, without the use of unnecessary words. Try not to exceed 500-600 words.
Compelling headline and lead
Use a headline that is short, catchy and conveys the sense of the matter in the press release. Ensure that it is attractive enough to grab the attention of media houses. The same goes for the lead paragraph in the release.
Include all your contact details – telephone and fax numbers, address, website and e-mail addresses – in the press release. Ensure that a person reading the press release is able to contact you easily.
Link to your website
You need not reveal all the information about your product and/or services or your event in the press release. You can provide a link to your website, and ask readers to click on it for further details. This would help you achieve greater traffic to your site, and help readers understand your product better, without the word limitations of the press release.
In case of online press releases, you can use supplements like PDF documents, photographs, videos, audio files or product shots, to engage the reader more effectively.
Avoid spam filters
It is entirely possible for your press release to get blocked by spam filters at some media houses. A little bit of study can help you avoid certain words that these spam filters recognise, so that you do not get blocked.
Avoid the use of formatting tools – including bold and italics typefaces, different kinds of fonts and styles – in your press release. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. This would save journalists from the hassle of removing the formatting, in case it is not cohesive with his/her publication.