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

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10 Lessons (60m)
    • 1. Intro - How to write a (simply) irresistable press release

      1:32
    • 2. What do journalists want?

      6:21
    • 3. What's the hook?

      8:09
    • 4. What goes in to an ideal press release?

      7:48
    • 5. Crafting a killer headline

      8:52
    • 6. The middle bit

      7:01
    • 7. How does it end?

      4:01
    • 8. Tips for sending your release

      8:51
    • 9. Don't make these common mistakes!

      3:58
    • 10. Project - Create that killer press release

      3:15

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!

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 and said it over 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 Well, 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 water all coverage of their new up. 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 that 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 on also, share some of the stuff around the edges that will maximize your chances of actually getting it published. Would 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 that you're making. And it all comes with exercises in a worksheet to help you really refine a press release on , make sure it's as good as it could be before you press send. 2. What do journalists want?: I 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 gonna be curing up to publish. There's a worksheet to go with the course to, 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. A press release. So let's crack on. We're gonna think first about who were 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 were gonna be reading it at the end of the day on did. In this instance, we're talking about journalists, and so we really need to think about what they want. What's gonna make you stand out, make you different and make them think OK, this is an interesting story. This is something that I'm gonna want to cover, so let's think about what we know about them on and in my experience having Bean, a music journalist on the home page editor for your who, covering breaking news. All of this, then the one thing I know is 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. So 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 given them what they need in a really well presented way on nice and quickly at the right time. The other thing, though, on the flip side, is that journalists are desperate for good content. On did when I've been on the other side. So I've been trying to get content, have been trying to get stories published. It's actually amazing how quickly this can happen sometimes. So there's been times in the past where I wanted to get something in the local paper for one of my clients, and I sent in the press release and it's been published on the website in about two hours. Eso is quite incredible really? You know, it's this mix between, you know, realizing that people they need good stories. They need strong stories. But actually, they need your stuff as well. So don't be cowed by this. You've got a good story. You an interesting business. You're 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 is easy as possible on dso By this, I mean really, really easy. You don't want to be presenting them with something that they're gonna have to pick through spend hours going through. You've got to be presenting it in a way which gives them the facts, gives them everything that they need on throughout this course. Then I'm gonna be giving you lots of tips to help you do this. So we're gonna do our first exercise, and this is all about getting in their mind set. So just have a little think about the writers that you know, the journalists, the bloggers, that sort of people that you're going to be sending that press release to who you hope are gonna publish it. So think first. Well, which writers do you actually know by name? Are there publications that you read regularly? And you? You know who the journalists are in this particular field? And so are 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, Aunt? 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 have written about, you know, 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. I think as well how often they are being published. So is to say, Writer, that is trying to get a new story out every day. Are they doing this round o'clock or is it a quarterly publication? You know, 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 gonna very quickly get found out on. 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 a restaurant that's 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 or covering their story that they're trying toe send may so that bit of extra research that expert prep will really help you in the long run. It will 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 t o. Now I get the feeling that you're you're in sync with them. It will make you look more genuine. Also, think of a printer online. This is going to change. You know, that whole mind set us well. If they male or female, what sort of topics do they write about? You know what is their specialist area? So if you see them always writing about a particular thing, let's think about foods for food, for example. You know, Are they writing a lot about innovation and food or 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 the audience excited? You know, what are the hot topics? Their audience it is gonna be interested in, and then they serious? Or are they lighthearted? Because again, the more you can write in the right tone of voice for them, the more easy 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?: Now I want to ask you a difficult question, which is why should anybody care about your story? And I know this might seem a little bit harsh and a bit route 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 two people outside, they don't really care. You know, you have to really work to give them a good angle, a strong hook, something that's gonna make them sit up, pay attention and realize that it's relevant to them and to their readers. And so I'm gonna give you an example. A couple of examples here from Starbucks on Dino Starbucks have got, well, an eye watering the large budget for this kind of thing, I imagine. 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 we got, we got three stories. Starbucks celebrates global milestone with 30,000 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 on. 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 the click on this link to look at the press release to realize what the story's about. Andi, there's different people, different journalists. We'll 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 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 you know, showing some of the communication techniques deaf they've learned. And then you've got the date, and then you've got a little bit of one line or two to tell you about the story as you go down another really strong picture and you've got the body of the peace. So this is where you've got more information. You've got a quote. It gives you all of flesh on the bones, if you like. And so let's think about what makes a strong angle. Onda. 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 there. Okay, there's an audience here. There's customers who are potentially going to find that useful. So the 30,000 store okay, that's timely. That's a milestone. The new cold pressed juice coming out that's timely, too, and then useful. That's what the sign language one falls under and then unexpected as well. You looking for something which is a bit There's 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 your team is not interesting. However, if they're going to revolutionize your whole business and develop some amazing new innovation that's gonna 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 on. We're going to look at some of the press releases day I've got going on. So we've got a timely story. They've got students discussing climate solutions at an energy summit. There's got 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 then unexpected. Strange bacteria hint of ancient origin of photosynthesis. So even a 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 gonna 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, when 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 of 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 of this, too. And so if you're running a business, you're gonna be very much in tune with your customers. The things that interest you very likely to be the things interest them as well. So in the same way that we were thinking about putting yourself in the mindset off, journalists and bloggers also think about customers as well. You know what those take those things? Those hot topics that are gonna be of interest to them on 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 and really be tough on yourself here. Is there 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 on? Really think about this. Why should anybody care about this? And sometimes it will just leap off the page? You know the story will always right itself. Where's other times? Well, really. Try and think, Is this a super strong story? Because the thing is, if you're continually sending out press releases that 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 cries wolf, you know, so sometimes it's better to hold back until you have got a really strong story and make sure 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. Andi, think about your journalists and your bloggers that you're trying to reach on. Really? Hone in on the specifics. Make sure that goes into the angle. Make sure title. Make sure the hook contains this element that people are gonna 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 worksheet on. Let's think about the big story that you've got coming up. Onda, Ask yourself, Make a little note. What is it that makes it so newsworthy? So is there anything new that's 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 gonna be excited by it? Who is it actually gonna have an impact on? So make a few notes here on, then we will go on to the next part of the course 4. What goes in to an ideal press release?: Now we're gonna look at what goes into your press release on 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 gonna 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 on this needs to be a bold confidence summary. Of all the key points a subheading on this is gonna be one or two sentences. I like to do this and bold, usually on nears expand upon the headline. They reinforce it. They are a bit Wait, there's a bit more supplementary information. Then you've got an opening paragraph on. This is where you cover all of those fantastic doubly words. So the who, the what the where the why and the how This is kind of adding meat on the bones if you like on dso to show you an example. So we've got a strong headline here boating tourism on the rise, contributing over £6 billion to the UK economy. So there's year there's a hook. There's your angle that this is really important. You know, £6 billion 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. Andi, how that contributes to the economy. And then we've got this 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 a. 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 the 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, Andi, sometimes this is very important as well. They might be news. It's been embargoed, so you might send out the press release two weeks ahead of your new store opening, for example, that you'll put an embargo on it and say journalists write. This cannot be published before this date on DSO. 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 also not using job. And you're not being too conversational because then it's It's just the wrong tone of voice . So you want to write short declarative stent 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 Adan's of subheadings add in some bullet points. Anything that makes it more readable will help your journalists understand the information on will hopefully make it more likely that they'll publish to. So in these subsequent paragraphs, you need to be thinking, Well, who is actually affected by this news? You know, make sure that's included. How is it going to help them and think, Well, what led you to create this new product will 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 lightbulb moment that led you to create this product and think about what's unique or unusual about your knees. How is it going to affect things going forward? What's the impact that's really important in your press release and then try and add contexts? Statistics hyperlinks link out to other information. Information might be useful include quotes from relevant people. So preferably senior management, and don't forget to include their job title to, 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 on their quoting from someone who's very senior, lots of ways you could display quotes, you know that 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 wanna do a quote with massive speech marks. Either side. You might want to put it in a box. You might want to do in italics as they have. Hear, You know, there's ways that you will develop yourself that are kind of in keeping with your own brand style. But the important thing to mention is that you need these component parts. I'm just a close and this is a definite style, a convention that you get in press releases, you say when it ends. And so this, I think, stops people from just cut and paste. No, the whole figure which isn't what you want. So something to say at the end of the actual story ends. Or you can do the double hash like we have here, um, included contact details really important. Don't forget toe include this bit and then you want the boilerplate information as well. So this is essential information about the company. Andi, whoever you are. I don't care if you're 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 here because the previous people, they weren't so strong in this 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 won't assume knowledge. It means anything that goes out about UNICEF that is taken from this press release. Then if a journalist prints something that is not correct, then people at UNICEF can say we'll have on you had all that information, so please don't make mistakes. Now we're just gonna do a little exercise on, and it's all about getting the basics together. So think about your big story and low down the angle. What's gonna go in the opening paragraph? So what are the key points? What the big steps you've got. I love seeing big steps in the headline in the opening paragraphs. You know, it really drives home where this and this story is of importance and think about who you're gonna quotas. Well, and if you don't have any quotes, then go and are someone. One thing I do quite a lot as well is right the quote for someone and then get them to sign off. And so they could make any minor tweaks. But that would 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 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 you about page. It might be that you could just take what you've got on the website and put that in the press release Done 5. Crafting a killer headline: Now we're gonna 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 with a negative, I'm gonna show you a couple of headlines. I think I just not stay 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. Andi, you can probably guess it. It's something to do with Gulf because it says the Open. But you don't really know who's road to the opener 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 of the personal stories about and there's supplementary information, and it makes a really strong story when you put it all together. But when you see the headline just kind of floating, floating in midair like that, then it just doesn't have the same power. And this one. 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. Is it? On 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 there's something controversial going on here, Well, this new, non exact director is going to bring in some amazing groundbreaking innovation that's going to change my life. Are not really that interested. So let's have a look at some that are stronger and think about why. So this one is to do with reports drag race coming to the UK on They've written this, as you can see in a very different tone of voice on. This works really well with a showbiz story. You know, TV, entertainment, showbiz, and they've got a few plays on words. Shell and Twiggy are going to be the judges, and so if you're in the UK, you'll probably know who these people are. But maybe outside the UK, you won't. So they're really thinking about the audience here, and they're only using language that the people they're talking to will understand on. 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. You know, people won't really appreciate this kind of approach, however, this one here. Okay, so we've got those specifics here, So we've got MacBook Air and MacBook Pro updated for the back to school. Season on. 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 gonna read on on updated that tells you. Okay, there's any development back to school season. Okay, So you know, this is gonna be off 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 on who it's gonna have an impact on. So it does that very well, just in a few words. And then let's look at what Pizza hut erupt, too. 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 on 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. You know, a few plays on words. So can you believe it on what they've done is taken a classic pizza and Nev overhauled it. They've given it a whole new look. So let's think about how you can strengthen your headline on one thing that you can do. Definitely. As you've seen, any examples I've just shown you is to you. Specifics, you know, don't make people guess. Don't use all sorts of abstract phrases you want to be precise on. You want to use keywords? Try a bit of wordplay, Andi. Even if you are in what you could call them or dry and serious sector, then people still like a few plays on words. You know it lightens the 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 a lot. People will miss what you try to say on front loaded, if possible, and so what I mean here is putting the essentials first on this is really important. If you think you're emailing that press release out on DSO, people are really going to see the first bit because they're scrolling on their mobile through their email inbox. And so it don't leave the good bits to the end. You know, make sure that you're gonna put the essential keywords in the opening words of your title and then lastly, 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? Andi, Try that as an experiment. You know, physically put your hand in front of the rest of the press release and see well, does it make sense? If I only see the title on this needs to contain enough context to explain a story on kind of teased a reader so that they're 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 here? You're looking for something that really complements 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 a headline. You know, you gotta draw the line somewhere and so you're subheading your your introductory paragraph . You're one or two lines. This is what's gonna add weight and reinforce the whole thing. Make it all it all together more powerful. So this pan you believe it? One by Pizza Hut. Okay, I'm thinking, Well, this is interesting. But as we were saying earlier, Is it really gonna change my life? And so it's not until I read the thing intro here that I realized, OK, 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 RuPaul story on and you've got the pictures here, which is good, and then they've got this opening paragraph here in bold on this tells you a bit more so if you don't know who showed and Twiggy are, then it tells you hear Queen, a 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 will give you a call to find out who you're actually talking about on. It gives you a bit more than okay, this is a TV Siri's. It's coming out in the autumn, and it adds, you know, just a little bit. Mawr impact. So you know that the story has a bit of weight on looking at the Mac book story. Then students come 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 straightaway what? The difference is OK, 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 that you no need to go into the title, gather together your essential components. So what are the names of your product? What does it do? Why is it so exciting and so innovative on what is the impact off it? Who is it making an impact on? And then write a list of headlines, try and write loads? That 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, have a cup of tea, and I think about it. I might ask other people in the office, and what you want to 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 flush it out with the subsequent paragraphs on the second exercise and take a bit of time to note both these Down on your worksheet is about perfecting that killer had headline. So imagine a story is gonna 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 mom from Boeing. Um, a killer business idea. Or they might say after the break, the innovative new app that promises to help teenagers actually get off in the morning. 6. The middle bit: So now we're gonna come to all those important bits in the middle. All are essential information that's gonna help journalists actually cover your story. So what should you include? What goes into this bit? So we're thinking about who is 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 did you actually create this in the first place? And then, of course, think about what's unique or unusual about your news. And there's all the things that you will have included in the title on Dinna subheading as well. But you want to be fleshing out a little bit more here, giving people who at the actual facts and then, of course, when is this all happening? And what's gonna happen next on 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 text really closely pushed together on this makes it quite a hold read. And anything that's difficult to read is gonna make it difficult fuel facts and figures and information and the whole story to come across effectively. And so there's a few things that you can do here. So writing quite short, declarative sentences. So this means you're making clear statements about what you're saying. You're writing in a very confident kind of tone of voice and then concise paragraphs as well. And this is something I see quite a lot where it runs to, like 75 words or something like that, and you haven't to pick through to really get to the number. The story and so many times have had a press release that I've looked at, and I've spent ages trying to work out where the actual facts I need to put this thing together. So please, that's facts, figures difficult to say all that in bullet points. Bullet points are definitely your friend here. 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 a bullet points is really good, because then this helps people see at a glance. The thing is, you don't know what context they're writing about the story in, 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 could 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 invent, lease 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 either side. And don't forget to include the full name or job title. So if you don't do this, then eh, it's gonna make work for the person writing about your story or B. You might upset the person who you're quoting, and if this is your boss, it's something you want to avoid. Day. So put the interim 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 and 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 clear and then space it out. Lots and lots of white space make it easy on the eye. Lots of nice bullet points, subheadings and then visual clues. Like I saying so if you've got quotes, do them in a large front or italics anything to make it an easier read rather than this very flat set of text 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 or no more than 500 words. A 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 the way that you can link out to something else that people can see the story in full . So this is an example from TfL Transport for London on DSO. As you can see, they've got a bit of a visual hierarchy here. You've got the title on that's in a much larger fund, and then you've got that little opening paragraph toe to reinforce the title. To add a bit of weight. They have got some details about speed. Um, Andi, 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 it's separate little box on its own. And although a lot of people notice Sidique Khan is the mayor of London, they're still said who 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 schoolbags and 84,000 education Kipps and using bullet points like they have done here really helps make those facts and figures stand out on. They've also got lots of white space around it. It's very clear lots of short sentences, and it's written in language that everyone can understand So how you write your own press releases is gonna be up to you, so you'll develop your own style, their 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 you think about your next press release on right? A simple list of the facts and the stats that you should include. Andi pop down all the key information, but don't write in sentences. So no flowery language. As I was saying then, the context is up for the writer up to the writer. It's not really something that you should worry about too much at this stage. What you were trying to do is get across all the facts so they can build a story around it . So stick to the cool points, and then, while you doing this, think well, who is affected by this and how How are they affected on? What are the numbers that you could mention and when is it happening? Where is it happening again? Don't assume people have have knowledge. If if you're say in the UK, people forget that in the U. S. You might find type towns that got exactly the same name. And so fuel press release gets picked up by a global publication. Then people are 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 all this on what's happening next. So pop down. All those bits of information on this will give you a bit of a framework for the middle section off your press release. 7. How does it end?: Now we're gonna think about that final third in your press release, which is the ending. And there's various conventions that you can follow here, 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 end to those and clear, isn't it? And so this stops someone from just merrily cutting and pasting and popping the whole thing in a story on dso you just put that at the end where you finish explaining what story is, and then you can follow that up with your contact details. Super important. Because hopefully this journalist or this blogger is gonna be so excited by the story that they're gonna want to follow it, follow up by phoning you or emailing 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 is gonna be a paragraph all about your business on 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. Andi. I've chosen Ford as an example because they're one of those companies where, you know, you'd think that everybody knows who they are. But even someone like Ford, they still have this boiler plate text. So a paragraph to say, their global company, they're based in Michigan. They design and make a full range of cars and trucks, etcetera. So they're not making any assumptions on. This means that when the story is written, there's less chances of errors being made by the writer. Andi Errors are a real ball on. Do you know the journalist has always moved on to another story, so they're not gonna go back and correct it. So it's worth your world to get this information in 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 think well, surely everyone knows who they are. But if they have boiler plate text explaining who they are, then everybody should really, because they're not not making any assumptions there. On as you can see, they've got a nice clear link to download load of images. And there one of these brands were very protective about their look in their field, their branding. So they want to make sure that anybody that writes about them is going to accompany the article with some really nice quality images on rather than include them in the press release, which means it will be a really heavy file, and it might not even get through a spam filter. Then they've got them in 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, of course, they've got their press contacts to, So there's no ferreting around their website trying to work out who to talk to. You know exactly who the people are that you can chat to you straightaway. So let's think about the press release that you're putting together. Andi, think about how it's going to end so gathered together any high quality assets and really go for the highest resolution possible. Hopefully, this story is going to end up in print, not just online. So you really want to make sure that it's good quality on 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 on 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 on there may be a particular extension number that you cannot here so rather than just give people a basic number for the company, really think about who the best person is for them to contact. 8. Tips for sending your release: 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 of facts and figures that you could ever hope for and then ends with this lovely linked to the media gallery and the boilerplate texts. And they 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, but chances are you'll be emailing it to you. Want some quality assets that really easy to find? Thoughtful timing. Timing is so important in all of this good manners, very important to Andi. You want to be minimizing clicks on. So I'm gonna go through these and 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 most 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 the thing about press releases that 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 clear words right at the beginning. So if you think about the journalist the busy, they might be checking your email before they get into work on their scrolling through their phone. So much of this email subject line is gonna be cut off. So if you can move things around a bit, maybe if you know we're talking about the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro a title like that, if that's in the subject line, that's really good, cause that will come first. Whereas if you're email subject line is find all about. Find out about the impact of X y Zed edited a Then that important bit of the end is going to be cut off and then repeating the headline is fine so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. This is a press release. So if you're the title of your press releases, 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 on dykan. See here at a glance the interesting stories that they've got. So I might think, Oh, I'm going to say that confectionery company is and see which chocolate supply their bought . In fact, they've got to chocolate themed stories in them their emails recently and you can see they've got some facts and figures, So revenues past 130 million hotel Chocolat. There's someone do 1.3 billion takeover deal and these are all things that my eyes, um, a light upon it all seems interesting. I've got some facts in there. A manufacturing news from around the UK is less interesting because there's no nuggets of information. There's nothing for me to lucked onto, to see if that's going to be interesting to me or my readers. So then I'll click on one of Thes Onda. OK, we've got that confectionery story at the top, and then I've got the 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 they're going to maximise, the chances of getting published, its thes quality assets. And I know myself if I think back to when I was putting new stories on the R Who home page 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 immediate kit that's got mawr images and video in it they. I love these people. They just make it so easy. And so I want to be directed there in 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 on 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 that 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, it instantly makes you look that 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 post per press release. Andi, they've also got some media assets in a whole different section on these images, just really strong. So even if the story itself, it might be a little bit of meat and potatoes if you pardon upon, then the pictures themselves are just really, really beautiful and that they're lovely vegetables and nuts and and fruits and all this kind of thing, and it really showcases the story really makes it look strong. And this will definitely in 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 always start writing about other things, too. Now, next, we're gonna 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. Some 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 on some sort of trip, and then they're 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 thinking of 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're probably gonna be not just too late to get in one edition but too early for the next one as well. So it's worth dropping a journalist a line and just ask them about about the deadlines on then that helps you kind of build that relationship early on as well. And so think about when journalists and bloggers gonna be most receptive. Eso just get to know them on, asked him. 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're building the relationship with you've drop them a line to say When is the best time to send them a story? They have put it lie 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 it on Twitter, then you could retweet them and say Thanks so much for writing about this. Means means a lot to our 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 email 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 on get out. You were actually I'm Well, makes a note. So think about your subject line. What's your email subject line going to be? Andi? Have you got quality assets? And are they actually easy to find? Think about the best time to send out. And of course, this is gonna vary from writer to writer. And then how are you going to thank the journalist or a blogger who writes about you? 9. Don't make these common mistakes!: Now we're gonna think about some of those common mistakes that lots of people make, aunt, how you can avoid being like them. So first of all, the week angle, and I showed you a couple of these earlier. I see this all the time where I'm looking at the story and thinking, Well, what's so important about this? Why? Why is this in dress? Though 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 gonna be interested in this? Who is going to care on? The tougher you are on yourself about this, the better. The result is gonna be a so ask yourself lots of difficult questions on then that will help you sharpen at that angle. Now the next thing is Willie 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 one, so you can't actually form a story behind rebounded 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. What suddenly mentions a new product that hasn't been given any context? So really looked through it with fresh eyes, and particularly if it's something that you spent a lot of time editing, get somebody else to read it because they might say, Well, hang on. This really important fact that gives context of the whole piece is missing, so you always get fresh eyes on it. And this goes for any type of content that you're creating now overhype eso when you're talking about something which is amazing and revolutionary and fantastic and innovative, just support for a second and just think Well, how true is this? Because the thing is, it might mean that your first break press release gets published. But then after that, people get a little bit wary and they think I'm a gold. Not these guys again, you know, over sending 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 industry. So lots of people there's a big event. They sent out the press release the 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 way of one's focus, then if you send out your your happy go lucky merry little press release in the middle of that when you know actually the person on the receiving end might be going through a very difficult traumatic time, then that's going to come across as a little bit insensitive. So think about the news 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 there's the wrong tone. If you think back to the example I showed earlier with the very showbiz press release where we're talking about RuPaul's drag race, then that works brilliantly in that kind of industry where people want it to be full of plays on words, lots of little puns on lots of fun. Lively wording was in a much more serious little sector. Let's see insurance or legal or finance. People would look at that and just think, What the hell is this? What I just being sent? So really think about getting the tone right. And if this means that you write three versions of the same press release on, send them to different people, then then find, 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