According to a recent survey of journalists released by PR firm Greentarget®, several respondents cited law enforcement as providers of the most appreciated, organized and dependable press releases out there. And considering that approximately 70 percent of journalists surveyed say they take less than a minute to read a news release – we may want to look less like creative writers and more like cops-by sticking to the facts and nixing the fluff.
Relax – Greentarget assures us that writing an effective news release won’t require toting a gun and a badge. Simply follow these tips:
- Use bullets: We’re talking punctuation – not ammo. Journalists are busy people and they simply don’t have time to hunt through multiple paragraphs and pages in search of news. In fact, 53 percent of those surveyed say they find it helpful to receive news releases in bulleted format.
- Stick to the facts: 68 percent of journalists surveyed state the basic facts are the most important component of a press release. You have less than a minute to garner the attention of the media so remove the fluff and jargon and replace with the facts.
- Provide a reliable witness: When asked about quotes, the number one complaint had by journalists was that they sound unnatural, hollow and inauthentic. Quotes should be real, they should have substance and they should add value and context to a story.
- Don’t induce a manhunt: Contact information is key and should provide journalists with ways to contact you that are both easy and convenient for them. In addition to name, company name, phone, address website and email, be sure to include social media contact info for Facebook®, Twitter®, LinkedIn®, Google+® and more.
- Employ tactical weapons: There are several tools (or tactical weapons) that can help you take your press release to the next level. Prezly, for instance, assists in online distribution of your press release via email and social media and also has a contact management feature. Tiny by PitchEngine® transforms your press release into an engaging Web app that can be shared with contacts and social networks. There are countless others that can be discovered with a simple Google® search.
Remember, while your job isn’t to protect and serve, it is to provide journalists with the content they need to produce a great story. Think like a cop-write content that is free of fluff, full of the facts, and above all organized and succinct.