6 Tips for an Effective Press Release

Want media coverage? Here’s how to craft an attention-grabbing news release

Often meeting planning includes a bit of public relations—and if you want to get your message in the media, you’ll need to craft a press release fit for the news.

Now, there are many ways to publicize events in today’s digital world, including social media, email marketing and paid digital advertising. But don’t abandon this old standby: Many newspapers, magazines, digital media organizations, and radio and television outlets still rely on press releases to cover local news and events.

Use these six tips to craft news releases that capture attention and drum up some publicity.

Grab people’s attention.

Every news story starts with a hook, and your press release should be no different. What is exciting about the event, and how is it different from other meetings? The central message of the press release should be what makes the event special. In other words, explain why people will want to attend. 

Once the “why” is established, answer the other Ws: who, what, where and when. 

Make it relevant.

In a survey of 500 journalists, receiving an irrelevant pitch ranked as the biggest PR no-no. In second place: not understanding the publication’s tone and audience. The moral of the story here is do your research. Know who you are pitching your news release to, and tailor the press release to that outlet or person. If the write-up isn’t relevant to the person on the other end of your email, your media efforts will hit a dead end. 

Avoid jargon.

Trying to shed light on a technical or niche event? Skip out on industry jargon. Acronyms, titles and other specific language that might not be understood by all will do exactly that—not be understood. Remember, if the pitch isn’t relevant, it won’t get picked up for publication or read, period. 

Keep it short.

Let’s face it: No one has time to read your 1,000-word, elegantly worded press release. To improve the odds that your content will get read, keep it short, about 500 words or less, and break it up into subsections. That way, readers can skim through and find the information they’re looking for—you guessed it, the relevant details—fast.

Proof it.

Remember, a news release is your event’s introduction to the world, and a sloppy write-up with spelling errors doesn’t make a great impression. Proof the release to ensure that all details are accurate and the rest of the copy is mistake-free. And sure, spell check is great, but make sure to get human eyes on it, too. Team members can read for context and have the event know-how that technology-powered software lacks.

Include contact information.

At the end of the release, share how people reading the release can get in touch with you if they have any questions. Give your name and contact information, as well as links to the event website and its social media handles, so people can get in touch and help spread the word.