Public relations

Writers Who create newsworthy press releases and media statements that are quick to grab journalist and reader attention.

Writers Who’s Guide to a Successful Press Release

10 ways to save your press release from an unread death. Here’s how to ensure your company lands good coverage and steers clear of the dreaded delete treatment. 

Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day. Some are opened, more are deleted instantly. For every one read from start to finish, there’s 10 (thousand) that fizzle out after the first sentence. 

  1. Understand the brief. A press release isn’t about spruiking a product; it’s about highlighting an idea that is going to interest readers. Think big, fascinating, and relatable. You know that element that makes someone start a sentence with “I read this thing today”? Capture that. 
  2. Get spicy. No vanilla headlines. Picture the headlines that make you stop your own scrolling. That’s what we’re after for a make or break title and subject line. Quotes should sound like a real person said them. The more fun, quirky and outrageous, the better. Spicy quotes also make show-stopping headlines. 
  3. Timeliness is godliness. An milestone has just been reached? You’re ready to launch anew product? A property you just sold set a suburb record? Your company’s press release needs to be in the journalist’s inbox within the hour to get maximum coverage. To be genuinely worthy of being picked up, your announcement should be the newest, the biggest, and the first. If you’re hitting send three days after the event, you’re three days too late. 
  4. If it’s not newsworthy, it’s a no. Sure, it may be exciting to you and your company but unless you’re Apple, the mere fact that you created a new product isn’t enough. Find a way to share the news creatively and make it appealing. Does it support or contradict a public trend? Is it an illuminating perspective or opinion?  If it doesn’t pass the ‘would you chat about it at the dinner table test?’ it’s going nowhere. 
  5. Know who’s on top. A press release isn’t written for the company; it’s for the journalist who will decide its next move. 
  6. They’re busy bees. A journalist’s inbox is like Westfield on Boxing Day. Journalists have never been more overworked, so it’s within your best interests to deliver a press release in a format that makes it easy to publish with minimal changes. Quick tip  - think ‘how does the ABC write?’ Do they capitalise business programs? Do they start articles with a company name? If the answer is no, don’t waste your time and theirs by including them in your press release. 
  7. Be accessible. Provide contact details in your press release, and have your company’s spokesperson ready to roll. Journalists make hundreds of phone calls a week. If you don’t answer, they’ll move on to the next who will.  
  8. Size matters. This isn’t your time to shine on the essay front. We’re talking between 300-400 words. If yours is longer, you’ve probably included unnecessary company waffle and jargon that doesn’t add value. Keep it brief, clear, and direct. 
  9. Say what you mean. Internal language is a sure fire way for your press release to be laid to rest at the bottom of the delete folder. Sure, your company might call your programs ‘link to link’ or ‘connect to core’ but what does that actually mean? Explain what you’ve done and why it’s newsworthy. 
  10. Include a photo. A press release without a photo is just untethered words. Ensure photos are high quality, high resolution, and feature a relevant person. Journalists are after visually interesting photos, they’re not out to run your product shots. Finally, no stock images, ever. That woman smiling in the field with her arms outstretched? She might look happy and content, but she’s still going straight to inbox purgatory. 

With these tips in mind, let's take a look at the good, the bad and the ‘blah’ of the press release world. 

Example one: Oh dear, we’ve got a bad one here

In a journalist’s inbox of a thousand pitches, this one is like that reality show contestant who gets sent home in the first episode, but you don’t even notice. 

With a headline and first paragraph that overly promotes the company and offers nothing new, it’s bound to get the chop.

A spelling mistake in the first paragraph is the second nail in the coffin. Grammatical errors imply a lack of professionalism and will have any journalist hit delete. When a small army of bullet points enters the screen, this press release might as well surrender now. 

Journalists are extremely busy and your press release needs to be written in a format they can easily and quickly publish. Write quotes as a journalist would. The last paragraph would be more effective as simply; “Considering the trending hybrid culture….” Anjan Pathak said. 

This is one press release that was swiftly shown the door. Try again on season two. 

Example two: Mediocrity is not the name of the game

Study now, pay later? Now that passes the dinner table test. Unfortunately for this company, it barely makes a ripple.  Long and far too wordy, this press release also buries the news hook. ‘Three million full fee-paying students are ineligible for Government support?’ Lead with this gem. With a mountain of company content suffocating the quotes and newsworthiness, it’s one for the mediocre PR files. 

Example three: Straight to publication for you

Attention commanding headline? Check. The ‘what’, ‘where’ and relevant figure in the introduction line? Check. Newsworthiness made clear in the first paragraph? Check. 

Here’s a press release that delivers the goods in a neatly wrapped bow. A record setting sale, an abundance of colourful quotes, short and sharp explanations, and plenty of photographs allow a journalist to hit publish with ease - which is exactly what happened when it was picked up by multiple news outlets, including the Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

Need help writing a

press release?

Get in touch

Tell us about your writing needs

Get in touch

Book in for a quick chat

Book now