How to Write Press Release Leads
There is nothing more disappointing than announcing your amazing news to the world through a press release—only to wait by your phone that does not ring or an email inbox with no email prospects. Your news story was news worthy! But why did nothing happen? Sometimes it is not the news—it is your press release.
There is a formula to writing a press release and the key ingredient is an attention grabbing leading paragraph.
Here are a few of our tips:
- Determine Your Angle: Determining your angle is the most crucial step you must take prior to writing your press release. Ask yourself what about your news story that will grab your audience's attention, and leave them wanting to learn more. For example, if you are launching an app, there may be an inclination to discuss the technical specifications but your audience may just want to know that this app works, and works for their purpose.
- Know Your Audience: On the flip side, if you are hoping for coverage in technical publications, your audience may indeed be more concerned with the technical specifications rather than its efficacy. When preparing to write your press release's leading paragraph, picture your target audience and craft a lead that will appeal to his or her sensibilities.
- The Five W's and H: Journalists are always keen to pick up on the who, what, where, when, why and how because that lets them extract the important information upfront. Addressing the 5 W's in your leading paragraph will help journalists determine if they want to run your story or get more information without wasting their time. Remember, these journalists are hammered with hundreds of press releases every day.
- Reveal Your Angle Right Away: Do not try to build suspense or be too wordy. Leave it to the reporters and journalists to add flair to your story. You want to grab attention off the bat, and once you have it, keep their attention.
- Attention to Language: It is a given that swearing is not acceptable, but what we want you to pay attention to is your writing style. Are you using an active or passive voice? Does every single sentence add value and new information? If it does not, remove it. Avoid using jargon that are only recognized by others in your industry.