Write irresistible press releases: expert advice on writing a unique press release that gets noticed | Sue Keogh | Skillshare

Write irresistible press releases: expert advice on writing a unique press release that gets noticed

Sue Keogh, Director and agency owner, Sookio

Write irresistible press releases: expert advice on writing a unique press release that gets noticed

Sue Keogh, Director and agency owner, Sookio

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10 Lessons (57m)
    • 1. Intro - How to write a (simply) irresistable press release

      1:32
    • 2. What do journalists want to see?

      6:05
    • 3. What's the hook? Why should anyone care about your story?

      7:49
    • 4. The anatomy of your perfect press release

      7:30
    • 5. Craft that killer headline!

      8:34
    • 6. What's in the middle? Build that body content

      6:43
    • 7. How does it end? Conventions to follow for the professional touch

      3:44
    • 8. Tips for sending and getting it published

      8:33
    • 9. Don't make these common mistakes!

      3:40
    • 10. Project - Create that killer press release

      3:15
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About This Class

Learn how to write scintillating press releases that actually get noticed and picked up by busy journalists!

Having worked in the music industry, across news outlets and as an editor, I was inundated with PR agencies, bands and startups trying to get their content noticed and promoted. Now, as an agency owner, we are always writing and sending out press releases for clients. So I've been on both sides of the table across numerous industries and I know what gets picked up! 

Who is this course for:

This course is for anyone who needs to promote their business in the press and is struggling to get their content noticed. I've got practical advice and insider techniques that will get your press release noticed. 

 

What this course will cover:

  • What do journalists want?
  • The anatomy of an effective press release
  • Writing a killer headline and intro that gets attention
  • The essential bits people forget
  • How to finish an exceptional press release
  • How to get through to the journalists you want
  • Common mistakes to avoid

At the end, we'll hone your knowledge taking you through writing a captivating press release that gets results.

Don't forget to join the Sookio School community on Facebook to share ideas and ask questions!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sue Keogh

Director and agency owner, Sookio

Teacher

Hi everyone!

I'm Sue Keogh, founder of an award-winning UK digital marketing agency and a content producer for the BBC, ITV, Magic FM, Yahoo, AOL and more.

I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others, and have trained thousands of companies and business leaders around Europe in all aspects of the digital landscape. People like the University of Cambridge, Sony, and the UK government.

Now, with the power of Sookio School - and Skillshare! - I'm going to share this knowledge with you!  

The courses I have created are all designed to help you learn valuable new skills. They're full of helpful hints and expert tips and will give you the boost you need to help your business grow.

I hope you enjoy my courses – and I look forward to... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Intro - How to write a (simply) irresistable press release: When it comes to press releases, I've been on both sides of the table! As editor of a music website for the BBC, I used to get press releases all the time from record labels trying to build a buzz around their artists. As a home page editor for Yahoo and a AOL I was always picking out what was newsworthy and what wasn't. As a tech writer, I was inundated with PR agencies trying to get wall to wall coverage of their new app. But nowadays, running a digital marketing agency, I'm on the other side! So it's up to us to catch the eye of journalists and bloggers, using all the techniques I know from experience will actually work! And this is what I'm gonna pass on to you in this course. It's full of practical advice that you can apply straight away to make sure that you get results from your very first press release. I'll also, share some of the stuff around the edges that will maximize your chances of actually getting it published. We'll also be looking at the anatomy of a press release, so this means lots of tips on writing that killer headline and including essential information, a journalist is gonna need to write a story. I'll also cover some common mistakes that you may not even realize you're making. And it all comes with exercises and a worksheet to help you really refine a press release and make sure it's as good as it could be before you press send. 2. What do journalists want to see?: Hi, welcome to the course. I've got a ton of tips to share with you about writing a brilliant press release that journalists are just going to be queuing up to publish. There's a worksheet to go with the course too, so you might want to download that now and then you can complete all the exercises as we go. And at the end I've got a project for you, which is to use everything that you've learned to build your own press release. So let's crack on. We're going to think first about who we're writing for. And so when you create any piece of content, so whether it's maybe the wording for your website or maybe it's a printed brochure. You've always got to think about the people who are going to be reading it at the end of the day. And in this instance, we're talking about journalists. And so we really need to think about what they want. What's going to make you stand out and make you different? And make them think, okay, this is an interesting story. This is something that I'm going to want to cover. So let's think about what we know about them. And in my experience, having been a music journalist and a homepage editor for Yahoo covering breaking news, all of this. Then one thing I know is that journalists are really busy. So they've got lots of stories competing for their attention. And they usually have quite a strict deadline as well. These are the sort of people that you're writing for, you need to be aware of that. You know, that you shouldn't really be taking up too much of their time. You need to be giving them what they need in a really well-presented way and nice and quickly at the right time. The other thing though, on the flip side, is that journalists a desperate for good content. And when I've been on the other side, so I've been trying to get content, I've been trying to get stories published. It's actually amazing how quickly this can happen sometimes. So there has been times in the past where I wanted to get something in the local paper for one of my clients. And I've sent in the press release and it's been published on their website in about two hours. So it's quite incredible really. You know, it's this mix between, you know, realizing that people, they'd need good stories. I need strong stories, but actually they, they need your stuff as well. So don't be cowarded by this. You've got a good story. You're an interesting business. You are looking to get coverage. You never know you might be in the right place at the right time. And so the idea is that you want to make life as easy as possible. And so by this, I mean really, really easy. You don't want to be presenting them with something that they're going to have to pick through, spend hours going through. You've got to be presenting it in a way which gives them the facts, give them everything that they need. And throughout this course, then I'm going to be giving you lots of tips to how you do this. So we're going to do our first exercise. And this is all about getting in their mindset. So just have a little think about the writers that you know, the journalists, the bloggers. The sorts of people that you're going to be sending that press release to who you hope are going to publish it. So think first, well, which writers do you actually know by name or their publications that you read regularly and you know who the journalists are in this particular field. And so they broadsheet journalists, in which case they'll have a particular way of working? Or are they bloggers? Which means that you might be able to approach them in a slightly more, I suppose, informal way. You know, they might have a different style of writing that they'll appreciate. Which publications do you write for? It's really important when you're sending out press releases to actually read the kind of publications that you're hoping will publish it. So that will help you get in the right tone of voice, the right frame of mind. And it makes it more likely that they'll publish it. It means that perhaps you can reference previous stories that I've written about. So the more you know about the people that you're writing for, the more in tune with them they'll be, you'll be. And then the more likely it is that they're actually going to go ahead and publish. Think as well how often they are being published. So is this a writer that is trying to get a new story out every day? Are they doing this round the clock or is it a quarterly publication? Really try and think because the thing is if you look like you don't know who they are and you don't know their style of writing, you're going to very quickly get found out. And there's a friend of mine, for example, who's a food blogger. And she's based in Cambridge in the UK. And she frequently gets requests from people up in Scotland, which is miles away saying, can she come and review their latest restaurant is opening in Edinburgh. And they clearly haven't done their homework. And she's kind of thinking, well, these people don't know who I am. Of course I'm not interested in talking about their restaurant or, covering their story that they're trying to send me. So that bit of extra research, that extra prep will really help you in the long run. It'll help you write a press release that is more targeted. And it means when you make that first introduction of yourself, when you communicate with them, you're writing in a way that they are going to know. Get the feeling that you're in sync with them, it will make you look more genuine. Also think that they print or online, this is going to change that whole mindset as well as a male or female. What sort of topics do they write about? What is their specialist area? So if you see them always writing about a particular thing, Let's think about foods for example. Are they writing a lot about innovation in food or were they more stuff to do with recipes? I don't know. Have a think about this and then that will help you tailor the press release. And then what gets their audience excited? What are the hot topics there audience is going to be interested in. And then are they serious or are they lighthearted? Because again, the more you can write in the right tone of voice for them, the more easily you're making it for them to cover your story. So take a break for a second, have a look at the worksheet and start jotting down some notes, which will help you get well on the way to write in that press release. 3. What's the hook? Why should anyone care about your story?: Now I want to ask you difficult question, which is why should anybody care about your story? And I know this might seem a little bit harsh and a bit rude. We've never met. But really you've got to think, why should anybody care? You know, it's your business. You're the one that's in it, day in, day out. Everything that happens is of major importance to you. But to people outside, they don't really care. You have to really work to give them a good angle, a strong hook. Certainly that's gonna make them sit up, pay attention and realize that it's relevant to them and to their breeders. And so I'm going to give you an example, a couple of examples here from Starbucks. And I know Starbucks have got, well, I and II water and a large budget for this kind of thing I imagined. But what they've got here, it's the same sort of techniques that anybody can use when coming up with a hook for their press release. So as you can see here, what have we got? We've got three stories. Starbucks celebrates global milestone with 30000 store. And they've got a new organic celery cold pressed juice. And then they're opening their first signing store in China, which means the staff there are using sign language to communicate with people. And all of these stories are interesting in their own way. And they've all got a really clear hook. So you're not having to even open knee. Click on this link to look at the press release to realize what the story is about. And there's different people, different journalists will see these stories and different people will want to write about different ones. And so I, for example, I thought, well that's interesting about the sign language store. You know, I've, I've never come across that before. So this is what happens when we click on this. And you get a lovely clear picture with all the people showing some of the communication techniques deve, they've learned. And then you've got the date and then you've got a little bit of a one-liner to, to tell you about a story. As you go down another really strong picture. And you've got the body of the piece. So this is where you've got more information. You've got a quote, it gives you all a flesh on the bones if you like. And so let's think about what makes a strong angle. And we can think about the Starbucks stories here, but then also press releases that you sent out yourself or ones that you may have come across. So the first thing is timely, it's really important to give your press release a sense of now, a sense of urgency. You know, why is this thing so important? What's the impact it's making? Now, we're not talking about anything historical, we're talking about newsworthy information. It also needs to be useful as well. So if you think about the sign language story, then you can see that, okay, there's an audience there, there's customers who are potentially going to find that useful. So to 30000 store. Okay, that's timely. That's a milestone. The new cold pressed juice coming out. That's timely two. And then useful. That's what the sign language one falls under. And then unexpected as well. You're looking for something which is a bit as a novelty factor. It's new, it's unexpected, it's different, is controversial. You know, someone just joining your team. As in fact, I've got a great example for you on this later. Someone just joining our team is not interesting. However, if they're going to revolutionize your whole business and develop some amazing new innovation. That's going to be useful to your customers, then that is newsworthy. So always try and think about these things that are unexpected in some way and think how you can highlight these. So this is completely different to Starbucks. This is Imperial College London. And we're going to look at some of the press releases they've got going on. So we've got a timely story. They've got students discussing climate solutions at an energy summit. They've got a really interesting story about how you can give amputees better control of their prosthetics by putting electrodes in the, in the working arm, which is really interesting and unexpected. Strange bacteria hinted ancient origin of photosynthesis. So even the word strange there, that kind of adds a bit of weight to this press release. It makes you think, Okay, there's something going on here. There's a bit of a story. And again, useful. We've got the, you can see there how this is going to have an impact on people who are amputees. You know, you can, you can see why this is valuable in some way. And then the climate solutions again, this is about a summit that has just happened. And then climate solutions. This is a very hot topic at the moment. People, if you, if you pardon the pun, people are talking about this a lot. So let's think. While we're talking about the importance of a strong angle. What do you like to read and watch and listen to? What catches your eye? What are those stories that kind of leap out at you when you're looking at magazine, when you're watching the news, when you're opening a newspaper and turning the pages. And what interests you is likely to interest or this two. And so if you're running a business, you're going to be very much in tune with your customers. The things that interest you are very likely to be, the things interests them as well. So in the same way that we were thinking about putting yourself in the mindset of journalists and bloggers. Also think about customers as well. What are those, those things, those hot topics that are going to be of interest to them. And what I'd like you to do when you're preparing your press release and thinking about the hook, thinking about the angle is trying to answer these three questions. So say to yourself, I'm really be tough on yourself, air it. So really anything new here. So what is it that makes it so unusual or unexpected or surprising in some way? And secondly, ask yourself, why should anybody care and really think about this? Why should anybody care about this? And sometimes it'll just leap off the page. You know, that the story will always write itself. Whereas other times, well, really trying to think It's a super-strong story because the thing is if you're continually sending out press releases are a little bit overhyped. The story isn't that strong. Then unfortunately, when you do put out that press release, which is really, really newsworthy, then actually people might not be interested. A bit like the boy who cried wolf, you know? So sometimes it's better to hold back until you have got a really strong story and make sure that that's the one that you put all your time into promoting. And then thirdly, what's going to get your audience excited? So think about your customers and think about your journalists and bloggers that you're trying to reach and really hone in on a specific. Make sure that goes into the angle. Make sure title, make sure the hook contains this element that people are going to be interested in. Think about why it's going to appeal to the people that the writer is actually writing for. And so I've got a little exercise for you now. So get out that worksheets. And let's think about the big story that you've got coming up and ask yourself, make a little note, what is it that makes it so newsworthy? So is there anything new that unusual or surprising? And then think, well, why should anybody care? What makes it of interest to people outside your business? And who, the people who are going to be excited by it? Who is it actually going to have an impact on? So make a few notes here. And then we will go on to the next part of the course. 4. The anatomy of your perfect press release: Now we're going to look at what goes into your press release. And this is what we can call the anatomy of an effective press release. It's all those component parts which come together to make something that a journalist is going to recognize as something coming from a professional outfit because you're following all of those conventions. So first of all, we've got the headline. And this needs to be a bold confidence summary of all the key points. A subheading. And this is going to be one or two sentences I like to do to some bold usually. And these expanded upon the headline. They reinforce it out a bit. Wait, there's a bit more supplementary information. Then you've got an opening paragraph. And this is where you cover all of those fantastic W words. So the who, the, what, the why and the how. This is kind of adding meat on the bones if you like. And so to show you an example, so we've got a strong headline here. Boating, tourism on the rise, contributing over 6 million pounds to the UK economy. So there's, yeah, there's u hook, There's your angle that this is really important. You know, 6 billion pounds is a lot of money. So there's an impact here. It's having a positive effect. And we can tell who the effect is on because it tells us it's about voting and how that contributes to the economy. And then we've got the subheading which these people have included as bullet points, which is quite a nice technique actually. So they've got lots of facts and figures and they've put it really clearly in bullet points. And then the opening paragraph expands upon this. So it tells you a little bit more about the story. Next, at some point in a press release, it's really good to include your company logo. And then that makes it super easy for people to also include that in a story. You've got the release date. Now, when we're talking about conventions of press releases, this is something that people need to see. They need to see how knew the story is, because they don't want to look foolish by publishing something that six months old. And sometimes this is very important as well. They might be used, it's been embargoed. So you might send out the press release two weeks ahead of your new store opening, for example, but you'll put an embargo on it. And sage journalists write, this cannot be published before this date. And so it's very important to include this. And it's one of those things that journalists expect to see. Now your subsequent paragraphs, this is where you expand on the opening. So you want to be writing in a journalistic style. So it's not too pompous, it's not too formal. But you're also not using jargon. You're not being too conversational because then it's just the wrong tone of voice. So you want to write short declarative sentences by which I mean, lots of clear statements explaining what's going on here. Try and keep the paragraphs concise. And I know we're writing a bit more in a kind of a print way. But, but still, when I teach people about writing for the web, I say add a lot of space around the text, lots of white space, give it room to breathe. So adding some subheadings, add in some bullet points. Anything that makes it more readable will help your journalist understanding information and will hopefully make it more likely that they'll publish too. So in the subsequent paragraphs you need to be thinking, Well, who's actually affected by this news? And I make sure that's included. How is it going to help them? And think, well, what led you to create this new product or service? So let's say you're making some kind of product for babies or children. You might have a personal story that goes with this about the light bulb moment that led you to create this product. And think about what's unique or unusual about your news. How is it going to affect things going forward? What's the impact? That's really important and your press release. And then try and add contacts, statistics, hyperlinks in a link out to other information it might be useful, include quotes from relevant people. So preferably senior management, and don't forget to include their job title too. So to give you an example here, this is continuing this press release. They've got more facts and figures here. You can really see, okay, there's a bit of an impact happening. And they're quoting from someone who's very senior. Lots of ways you can display quotes. You know, what this example shows you here is just one way of doing it. What I want to get across is that these are the component parts in a press release. You can move things around. You know, you might want to do a quote with massive speech marks either side, you might want to put it in a box. You might wanna do it in italics as I have here. You know, there's ways that you will develop yourself that are kind of in keeping with your own brand and style. But the important thing to mention is that you need these component parts. And just to close, and this is a definite style convention that you get in press releases. You say when it ends. And so this I think stops people from just cut and paste the whole thing in which isn't what you want. So something to say at the end of the actual story and all, you can do, the double hashed like we have here. Include your contact details really important. Don't forget to include this bit. Then you want the boilerplate information as well. So this is essential information about the company and whoever you are. I don't care if your apple or if you're a one man band. It doesn't matter. Don't assume that people know everything about your company. And so I've taken an example from unicef hair because the previous people, they weren't so strong illness in their press release. But this is a much better example. So they've got ends. At the end, they've got notes to editor, editors which shows you a nice clear link to a report which has got all the information in much more detail. For more information, please contact their media team and then the boilerplate information. So this is an overview of unicef, who they are, who they work with, what their objectives are. And this means that people don't assume knowledge. It means anything that goes out about unicef that is taken from this press release. Then if a journalist print something that is not correct, then to people at unicef can say, Well, hang on, you had all that information. So please don't make mistakes. Now we're just gonna do a little exercise. And it's all about getting the basics together. So think about your big story and note down the angle. What's gonna go on the opening paragraphs. So what are the key points? What are the big steps you've got? I love seeing big stops in the headline in the opening paragraphs. It really drives home why there's, this story is of importance. And think about who you're going to quote as well. And if you don't have any quotes, then go now some, one thing I do quite a lot as well as write the quote for someone and then get them to sign it off. And so they can make any minor tweaks, but that will make sure that you have got the right quote that works with this story. Whereas I have on occasion in the past got a quote from someone, which actually is a bit useless because they haven't seen the rest of the press release. So they haven't been able to think, well, how can I say something that complements everything else? And then your boilerplate information as well. So once you've got this together, It's great because then you can use that in every press release going forward. And a good place to start might be your about page. It might be that you can just take what you've got on the website and put that in the press release, done. 5. Craft that killer headline!: Now we're going to look at one of my favorite topics, which is all about crafting that killer headline. And this is how you can really grab people's attention. So without wishing to start on a negative, I'm going to show you a couple of headlines. I think it is not so strong. So this one, the road to the Open. The problem here is that it doesn't stand alone, so you need to see all of the other content that goes with it to really understand what the story is about. And you can probably guess at it. Someone to do with golf because it says the open. But you don't really know who's road to the opening is. And when I look at the story online, I found it on a sports website. And there's a picture that goes with it to the person or stories about. And there's supplementary information. And it makes a really strong story when he put it all together. But when you see the headline just kind of floating, floating in midair like that. It just doesn't have the same power. And this, or when I saw this the other day when I was building this course just really made me laugh because it's just not very interesting as a, and this is, it goes back to what I was saying about really think about why people should care about your story. And really unless I know that there's something controversial going on here, or this new non-exempt director is going to bring in some amazing, groundbreaking innovation that's going to change my life. I'm not really that interested. So let's have a look at some that are stronger. Think about why. So this one is to do with Ru Paul's Drag Race come into the UK. And they've written this, as you can see, in a very different tone of voice. And this works really well with showbiz story, you know, TV entertainment, showbiz. And they've got a few plays on words. Cheryl and Twinkie are going to be the judges. And so if you're in a UK, you'll probably know who these people are. But maybe outside the UK, he wrote. So they're really thinking about the audience hair. And they're only using language that the people they're talking to will understand. And obviously if you're more of a science kind of publication that you're trying to reach, then you'll be writing in a completely different tone of voice. People weren't really appreciate this kind of approach. However, this one here, okay, so we've got those specific says. So we've got MacBook Air and MacBook Pro updated for the back to school season. And this is a little bit less kind of show busy, but it gives you everything that you need. So it's got those specifics. Macbook Air, MacBook Pro. Okay, Brilliant. I'm interested in those. I'm going to read on and updated. That tells you, okay, that's a new development back to school season. Okay, so this is going to be of interest to a certain audience, which is children and students and also teachers. So it's got not many words in it, this headline, but it also very effectively tells you what the story's about, why it's important and who it's going to have an impact on. So does that very well, just in a few words. And then let's look at what Pizza Hut are up to. So they're very impressed by their own story here so much they've put the whole thing in capital letters, which isn't something I necessarily recommend because it actually makes it a bit tricky to read. And so because it's food, a bit like showbiz, it's a kind of sector where you can have a bit of fun, a few plays on words. So Pangu believe it. And what they've done is taken a classic pizza and they've overhauled it. They've given it a whole new look. So let's think about how you can strengthen your headline. And one thing that you can do, definitely as you've seen in the examples I've just shown you, is to use specifics. Don't make people guess, don't use all sorts of abstract phrases. You want to be precise and you want to use keywords. Try a bit of wordplay. And even if you are in what you could call it a more dry and serious sector, then people still like a few plays on words. It lightens their day. But you don't wanna be too silly about it. And make sure that everyone is going to understand, you know, don't get too clever. All people will mess what you're trying to say and front-loaded if possible. And so what I mean here is putting the essentials first. This is really important if you think you're emailing that press release out. And so people are only going to see the first bit because they're scrolling on their mobile through their email inbox. And so don't leave the good bits to the end. Make sure that you gonna put the essential keywords in the opening words of your title. And then lastly, you want to make sure that it stands alone. So if someone sees this press release and they don't see the rest of it, they just see the press release and they just see the title. Then will they be able to make sense of what the story's about? And try that as an experiment. You know, physically put your hand in front of the rest of the, the press release and see well, does it make sense If I only see the title? And this needs to contain enough context to explain a story and kind of teased a reader so that they are going to read on. So what makes a good opener? We've had to think about the title. Let's think about the opening sentences as well. So you want a strong pairing. Hey, are you looking for someone that really compliments the headline, something that reinforces the importance. It will also add a bit of context as well. So you can't put 50 words in your title into your headline. You know, you've got to draw the line somewhere. And so your subheading your, your introductory paragraph, you're one or two lines. This is what's going to add weight and reinforce the whole thing, make it all it all together more powerful. So this new believe at one by Pizza Hut. Okay, I'm thinking, well, this is interesting. But as we were saying earlier, is it really going to change my life? And so it's not until I read the intro here that I realize, okay, there is an element of importance here because it's their classic pizza, which hasn't been changed for 40 years, and now they've done something to it. So that's the thing that to me makes me think, Okay, this is a bit more relevant. And then I look at the ripple story. And you've got the pictures here, which is good. And then they've got this opening paragraph here in bold. And this tells you a bit more. So if you don't know who showed and Twinkie are, then it tells you here, Quito, British fashion pop star icon, That's good because in the spirit of not wasting journalists time, you don't want them to be having to look up on the internet or give you a call to find out who you're actually talking about. And it gives you a bit more there. Okay. This is a TV series. It's coming out in the autumn and it adds just a little bit more impact. So you know that the story has a bit of weight. And looking at the MacBook story, then students can purchase MacBook Air and 13 inch MacBook Pro for lower price. So there you go. This is how it's been updated. The two go hand in hand. This thing has been updated. Okay. You can see straight away what the difference is, okay, there's a lower price. So now let's practice this. Can you summarize your story? So before you even write the title, try explaining out loud, and then that will help you get to those key points to you. No need to go into the title, gathered together your essential components. So what are the names of your product? What does it do? Was it so exciting and so innovative? And what is the impact of it? Who, who is making an impact on? And then write a list of headlines, try and write load. So that's something I do all the time. I never write just one title, one headline, always right, about 20. And then I go away because I'm British half a cup of tea. And I think about it, I might ask other people in the office. And what you wanna do is come up with the one that you know is going to attract attention and then define a secondary information is really going to add some context and think about what those key elements are before you then go on to flesh it out with the subsequent paragraphs. And the second exercise, and take a bit of time to note both of these down on your worksheet is about perfecting that kinda had a headline. So imagine a story is going to be covered on a TV or radio program. How would the presenter introduce it? So to give you a couple of examples, okay, next up, how a chance meeting with fiance gave a single month and Birmingham a killer business idea. Or they might say after the break, the innovative new app that promises to help teenagers actually get up in the morning. 6. What's in the middle? Build that body content: So now we're going to come to all those important bits in the middle or essential information that's gonna help journalists actually cover your story. So what should you include? What goes into that aspect? So we're thinking about who's affected by the news. Very important. What's the impact actually going to be? Is it going to be positive? Is it going to be negative? Or maybe if you're launching a new product or service, What's the story behind it? What did you, what led up to this? Why do you actually create this in the first place? And then of course, think about what's unique or unusual about your news. And these all are things that you would have included in the title and in a subheading as well. But you want to be fleshing out a little bit more hair giving people who act the actual facts. And then of course, when is this all happening and what's going to happen next? And how you present this information is really important. So I've seen quite a lot of press releases in the past which are really dense and full of lots of texts really closely pushed together. And this makes it quite hard read. And anything that's difficult to read is going to make it difficult fueled facts and figures and information and the whole story to come across effectively. And so there's a few things that you can do hair. So writing quite short declarative sentences. This means you're making clear statements about what you're saying. You're writing in a very confident kinda tone of voice, and then concise paragraphs as well. And this is something that I see quite a lot where it runs to like 75 words or something like that. And you haven't depict through to really get to the nub of the story. And so many times I've had a press release that I've looked at and I've spent ages trying to work out what are the actual facts I need to put this thing together. So please, That's facts. Figures difficult to say a lot in bullet points. Bullet points are definitely your friend air. If you've got lots of lovely numbers. So you've got the financial implications. You've got volumes of people, you've got dates. Anything that you can put into bullet points is really good because then this helps people see at a glance, the thing is, you don't know what contexts are writing about the story. And so, so you don't want to be making it up for people. You want to present it in this kind of slightly more neutral way so they can make their own judgment, they can write their own story around it. And then look out for quotes from senior management or relevant people. I like to indent these or write them in bold or italics. Or if you've got a bit of visual flair, you could put some really big speech marks I decide. Don't forget to include the full name or job title. So if you don't do this, then a, it's going to make work for the person writing about your story. Or be it might upset the person who you're quoting. And if this is your boss, It's something that you want to avoid doing. So put the intro and bold. That's a really good tip and then spell out any acronyms and avoid jargon. So you might find that the press release your writing goes a lot further than you first realized. And so it might go out further than people within your sector. And you don't want to annoy people by making them feel stupid because they don't know what the acronym is. So make sure that no assumptions are made. Always spell out these things that people are Claire. And then space it out. Lots and lots of white space, make it easier. Pniai, lots of nice bullet points, subheadings, and then visual clues, like I was saying. So if you've got quotes, do them in a large font or italics and asked them to make it an easier read rather than this very flat set of texts with everything really, really bunched up together. And then also think about the length. So a bit like a covering letter when you're applying for a job, you know, you don't want to be running to more than a page. Ideally, no more than 500 words. Page or two is fine. But anything more than that, it starts to feel like a report. If you've got too much there, then think, well, it's a way that you can link out to something else so people can see the story in full. So this is an example from TFL, Transport for London. And so as you can see, they've got a bit of a visual hierarchy here. You've got the title, and that's an, a much larger font. And then you've got that little opening paragraph to reinforce the title, to add a bit of weight. They have got some details about speed and some fun stuff about how many people are seriously injured on London streets. All the fun stuff. And so you've got the facts and figures there in bullet points. You've got the quote and a separate little box on its own. And although a lot of people notice it, economism, Mayor of London, they still said who he is underneath, so there's no room for people getting mixed up. Or this one from unicef. Again, they've got lots of facts and figures here with lots of numbers. So 4.5 million school bags and 84 thousand education kips. And using bullet points like they have done here really helps make those facts and figures standout. And they've also got lots of whitespace around it. It's very clear and lots of short sentences, and it's written in language that everyone can understand. So how you write your own press releases is going to be up to you. So you'll develop your own style, your own way of doing it. But these little tips are really, really useful if you want it to be as readable as possible. So I've got an exercise for you now. So think about your next press release and write a simple list of the facts and the stats that you should include and pop down all the key information, but don't write it in sentences. So no flowery language. As I was saying, then the context is up for the writer up to the right. So it's not really something you should worry about too much at this stage. What you were trying to do is get across all the facts so that you can build a story around it. So stick to the core points. And then what do you do ness think, well, who is affected by this? And how, how are they affected? What are the numbers that you can mention? And when is it happening? Where is it happening? Again, don't assume people have, have knowledge. If you're, say in the UK, people forget that in the US, you might find type towns that have got exactly the same name. And so fuel press release gets picked up by a global publication. And then people aren't going to know whether it's Cambridge in the UK or Cambridge in the US, for example. And then think as well about what prompted or less what's happening next. So pop down all those bits of information. And this will give you a bit of a framework for the middle section of your press release. 7. How does it end? Conventions to follow for the professional touch: Now we're going to think about that final third and your press release, which is the ending. And there's various conventions that you can follow hair, which will really give it the professional touch and make you look like a professional outlet. So what goes at the end? You can put the word and to use those and Claire, isn't it? And so this stops someone from just merrily cutting and pasting and popping the whole thing and his story. And so you just put that at the end where you finished explaining what the story is. And then you can follow that up with your contact details. Super-important because hopefully this journalist or this blogger is going to be so excited by the story that they're going to want to follow it, follow it up by phoning you are e-mailing you and asking for more information. And then the boilerplate information, which we refer to a little bit earlier on in the course. And what this is, is a, it's going to be a paragraph all about your business. And it doesn't have to be the whole life story, but just the basics. So where you're based, having the company is this kind of thing. And then of course, any useful asset. So if you've got links to high resolution images, for example, then this is a really good place to put them. Now this is from Ford and I've chosen thought as an example because they're one of those companies where you'd think that everybody knows who they are, but even someone like fraud, they still have this boilerplate text. So a paragraph to say they are a global company. They are based in Michigan. They design and make a full range of cars and trucks, et cetera. So they're not making any assumptions. And this means that when the story is written, there's less chances of errors being made by the writer. And errors are a real ball and a journalist is always moved onto another story. So they're not going to go back and correct it. So it's worth your while to get this information and so that they've got everything in one go in a press release. And then this example from Apple in another one of those companies where you'd think, well, surely everyone knows who they are. But if they have boilerplate text explaining who they are, then everybody should really is because they're not, not making any assumptions there. And as you can see, they've got a nice clear link to download load of images. And they're one of these brands who are very protective about their look and feel and their branding. So they wanna make sure that anybody that writes about them is going to accompany the article with some really nice quality images. And rather than include them in the press release, which means it will be a really heavy file and it might not even get through spam filter. Then they've got them on a separate section on their website. So you can just go there and you can browse through all the pictures and choose the one that you want and goals they've got their press contacts to. So there's no ferritin around their website trying to work out who to talk to. You know exactly who the people are, that you can chat to you straight away. So let's think about the press release that you're putting together and think about how it's going to end. So gathered together any high-quality assets and really go for their highest resolution possible. And hopefully the story is going to end up in print, not just online. So you really want to make sure that it's good quality. And the boilerplate info. And so this again, like I say, is a description about your company as you would explain it to someone who's never heard of you before. And your about page might be a good place to start here, but so you might find that you've already done a lot of the hard work already. Contact details and there may be a particular extension number that you cannot tear. So rather than just give people a basic number for the company, really think about who the best person has for them to contact. 8. Tips for sending and getting it published: Now let's think about how we can maximize the chances of getting your story covered. So you've written your brilliant press release. It's got that killer headline. The middle section has got all the facts and figures that you could ever hope for. And then it ends with this lovely linked to the Media Gallery and the boilerplate text and the contact details have got all of these things. And so how can we improve the chances of it actually being published? So what you really want is a strong email subject line. So you might be sending some of these out by post, that chances are you'll be emailing it to. You want some quality assets that are really easy to find. Thoughtful timing. Timing is so important in all of this. Good mothers. Very important too. And you want to be minimizing clicks. And so I'm gonna go through these and give you a bit more information on each. So the email subject line is a bit like the title of the press release itself. You know, it's really, really worth spending a lot of thought on this so that you can make sure it's as strong as possible. Because the best press release in the world, if the email subject line is really boring, then no one's going to open it. So you need to think almost in reverse and think about the journey that people are taking to actually read the thing rather than you having written it and knowing everything that's in it. So the best thing to do is tell it straight. So think about press releases. They are different to other types of content. So you need to tell people exactly what it's about. And this means including all those key points and front-loading it. So you're putting a lot of these keywords right at the beginning. So if you think about the journalist, they're busy. They might be checking your email before they get into work and they're scrolling through their phone. So much of this email subject line is going to be cutoff. So if you can move things around a bit, maybe if we're talking about the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, a title like that. That's an a subject line. That's really good because it will come first. Whereas if your email subject line is find all about, find out about the impact of XYZ did editor. Then that important bit at the end is going to be cut off. And then repeating the headline is fine. So you'd have to reinvent the wheel. This is a press release. So if you're, the title of your press release is really good, then you can just put that name email subject line. That's fine. So let me show you. I'm gonna take you inside my own inbox here. So this is from an organization called inside a media who put out a lot of press releases about business and industry. And I can see here at a glance the interesting stories that they've got. So I might think, oh, I'm going to save you that confectionery company is and see which chocolate supply they've bought. In fact, they've got to chocolate themed stories in their e-mails recently. And you can see they've got some facts and figures. So revenues pass a 130 million hotel shocker law. There's someone doing 1.3 billion takeover deal. And these are all things that my eyes alight upon. It all seems interesting. I've got some facts in their manufacturing news we run the UK is less interesting because there's no nuggets of information as nothing's me to latch onto to see if that's going to be interesting to me or my readers. So then I'll click on one of these. And okay, we've got that confectionery story at the top. And then I've got to supplementary information with that. But you need to be writing in the same way as you do with the killer headline. In a way that it's going to stand alone so you don't need to read the rest of the press release or the email to find out what it's about. And so next, thinking about the things that are going to maximize the chances of it getting published. It's these quality assets. And I know myself, if I think back to when I was putting new stories on the Yahoo homepage, that sometimes the story that I chose was the one that wasn't quite so strong, but the picture was better or the picture was easy to find. And anyone that puts together a press kit or a media kit that's got more images and video in it. They love these people. They just make it so easy. And so I want to be directed there and a really simple way. I don't want it to be behind some sort of password or something like that. I just want a nice clear link. Maybe that I find in the footer of the website and definitely included in the press release. And what I'd expect to see is a gallery of high resolution images. I'd want a really high resolution company logo, biographies of all the key people. So those people that you've quoted in the press release, I'd love to find out more about them and then some about information. So once you put this together, it's a bit of work at the beginning. Once that's there, then you can just add to it all the time. And if you look like you, if you have got a press kit on your website, instantly makes you look a little bit more important because it looks like you're in demand and people want to know your story. So it's definitely worth putting some effort in there. This is Blue Apron and so this is their newsroom area. So as you can see, they've got a postpone press release. And they've also got some media assets and a whole different section. And these images are just really strong. So even if the story itself, it might be a little bit. Meat and potatoes. If you burden upon, then these pictures themselves are just really, really beautiful and they're lovely vegetables and nuts and fruit and all this kind of thing. And it really showcases to store it really makes it look strong. And this will definitely increase its chances of being published. And then over in their press release section, they've got a list of all the latest press releases, which is great because you might find that the journalist is interested in one story that you've got. And then they start reaching around, and then they start writing about other things too. Now, next we're going to think about thoughtful timing. So you need to do a little bit of legwork here. So find out publication dates. So some magazines might be published, monthly, might be weekly, and then you've got quarterly things. You know, it varies from person to person. Bloggers might be a little bit more ad hoc, and so they might go and some sort of trip and then now writing about it when they come back. So they might be a little bit less easy to predict. But if you're trying to get published, your story published in say, a magazine, a food magazine, it's coming out ahead of Christmas. Then you need to get in really early. You'd be quite surprised at how early they put these things together. Usually when the sun is still shining and people are thinking about ice cream and, and suntan lotion rather than Christmas dinner, that you need to find this out. And also, if you're too late, you probably going to be not just too late to get in one edition, too early for the next one as well. So it's worth dropping a journalist or align and just asking them about the deadlines. And then that helps you kind of build that relationship early on as well. And so think about when journalists and bloggers going to be most receptive. So just get to know them and asked them when is the most useful time for you to send a story over? Now remember your manners. So this is important in all parts of life. But this journalist that you will build in the relationship with, you've dropped them aligned to say when's the best time to send them a story? They've put it live fantastic. And so it's really nice to send him a little, little note afterwards to say thanks for publishing. Or maybe if they post on Twitter, then you could retweet them and say, thanks so much for writing about this. Mean, It means a lot to allow small business. It's just little touches like this. Make them remember you and they make it more likely that they'll publish you next time as well. So, yeah, remember your man is always a good thing. And then lastly, thinking about all these things around the edges that are going to maximize your chances of getting the thing published, then minimal clicks. So if you're sending it out by email, put the press release in the body of the e-mail rather than attaching about a massive attachment. And that's it. That's all you got to remember on that one. And so let's do a little exercise and get out your worksheet and we'll make some notes. So think about your subject line. What's your email subject line going to be? And how do you got quality assets? And are they actually easy to find? Think about the best time to send out. And of course this is going to vary from writer to writer. And then how are you going to thank the journalist, blogger who writes about you? 9. Don't make these common mistakes!: Now we're going to think about some of those common mistakes that lots of people make and how you can avoid being like them. So first of all, the weak angle and I showed you a couple of these earlier. I see this all the time where it, where I'm looking at the story and thinking, well, what's so important about this? Why, why is this interesting? It's really worth spending a lot of time thinking about the angle, the headline, and really asking yourself a difficult question which is, who is going to be interested in this? Who is going to care? And the tougher you are on yourself about this, the better the result is going to be. So ask yourself lots of difficult questions, and then that will help you sharpen at that angle. Now the next thing is wooly facts. And so yeah, the number of times I've had to pick through a press release trying to work out in paragraph B, you've got one comparison between this and that. And then paragraph C, it has a similar comparison, but it's nothing like the other ones. So you can't actually form a story behind rebound it because they're comparing two completely different things. Or a new person will be mentioned halfway through, but you don't know who they are because it doesn't say their job title. Though it's suddenly mentions a new product that hasn't been given any context. So really look through it with fresh eyes and particularly if it's something that you spent a lot of time editing and get somebody else to read it because they might say, Well, hang on. This really important fact that give context of the whole piece is missing. So yeah, I always get fresh eyes on it. And this goes for any type of content that you're creating. Now, over-hyped. So when you're talking about something which is amazing and revolutionary and fantastic and innovative. Just pause for a second and just think, well, how true is this? Because the thing is, it might mean that your first press release gets published. But then after that, people get a little bit wary and they think, Oh God, not these guys again, you know, overselling themselves. So really think about whether the story within the press release lives up to the title as well. And just try and make sure they're a little bit more on a level. Now, bad timing, that's a problem all the way through the tricky. So lots of people, there's a big events. They send out the press release a day when it's all over. And so really think about journalists and their deadlines and their workflow. And really try and send it at the right time. And think as well about the new cycle. So if there's some big disaster somewhere that's taking away everyone's focus. Then if you send out your happy go lucky Mary Little press release in the middle of that when you know, actually the person on the receiving end might be going through very difficult traumatic time, then that's going to come across as a little bit insensitive. So think about the new cycle. Think about what's going on in the industry. Just think around it every time you press send. And then that will avoid that kind of thing happening. And then as the wrong tone, if you think back to the example I showed earlier with the very showbiz press release where we're talking about ripples, drag race. Then that works brilliantly and that kind of industry where people want it to be full of plays on words and lots of little puns and lots of fun, lively wording. Whereas in a much more serious or sector, let's say insurance or legal or finance, people would look at that and just say, What the hell is. What have I just been sent? So really think about getting the tone right. And if this means to the right three versions of the same press release and send them to different people then, then fine, because what you want at the end of the day is to maximize your chances of being published. 10. Project - Create that killer press release: So I hope you've enjoyed the course and you've learned lots and lots and lots about crafting that killer press release. And so now we're gonna put it all together on I've created a special template for you. So you might wanna look around and just find out how you can download that and printed off . Perhaps on this is gonna be a template that you can use again and again. So once you've got this 1st 1 sorted, you can overwrite it in the future. And it will be that framework that you can always come back to. So first of all, you want to get your core info together. Don't just start writing, scribbling it down, spend a bit of time just amassing all of that information just very much to bare bones. And then you want to be thinking about the killer headline. And as I was suggesting in need in the section that's all devoted to this, then don't this right? One right, 20 So 20 different variations Read them out to other people, get other people to look at it, sleep on it, think about it when you're away from the machine. I'm a big fun of walking far away from the computer and just letting my brain relax a little bit, and you might find that the best idea just floats to the surface and then take the same approach with the email subject line as well. You may want to make the match, or you may want to tailor its slightly on DNA, make it slightly different. So these two things in particular really crucial. If you want the thing to be published and then think about the body content and the layout , so you've amassed all of the information. Now spend a bit more time thinking about what's gonna go in on if you can refine the layout a bit. Mawr. So it's all very well, just having 500 words of text. But can you add in some bullet points? Can you break it up with some subheadings? Can you put any quotes from interesting people in a box on the right hand side or something like that? Are there any pictures that you can include? So all these things are just gonna make it pop, Really, They're gonna make it stand out on its a very competitive world where we live again here. So your press release is gonna be in the in box along with 20 other people. So these final little refinements are what might make the difference and then lastly, get the essentials together. So we're talking about the boiler plate text. We're talking about the correct contact details on any sort of press kittel media Gallery that you can put together to link people to, which means that there were able to pick out really high quality image to go with the story . So he's in a template that I've created the course You want to be mapping out what goes into this press release to make it simply irresistible on what I'd love to see when you put it together, Why not send over to May on? We've also got a Facebook group for the souk yo, school courses on this is full of people who are all in a similar position to you. We're all trying to learn more about digital marketing and use it in a way that s'more effective for our businesses. So why don't you join that to and then you can pick up even more tips from people just like you