Press Releases: How to capture the media’s attention

Your company is preparing for an innovative product launch, and you’ve decided that a press release is the best way to reach your target audience. Unfortunately, thousands of other companies had the exact same idea. Your target media are bombarded with news releases just like yours every day, so how do you make sure your press release stands out from your competitors?

You may decide to simply write the press release and hope for the best. But instead of going through that trial-and-error yourself, why not listen to some experts in the industry? At JDPR, we leverage our 30+ years of experience in media relations and marketing to tell our clients’ stories every day. With our extensive experience crafting and sending press releases for local, national and even international markets, we have identified some key tactics to help ensure our clients’ stories rise above the rest.

Consider your initial audience

When writing a news release, you’re often thinking about the end-reader, your target audience, and that’s a great way to start. However, you’ll first need to appeal to journalists and the media, so it is important to tailor your news release to what journalists are looking for. Use these tips to make your news release as easy as possible for a journalist to run as a story: 

  1. Use journalistic style: The Associated Press (AP) Style Guide, which covers everything from the Oxford comma to word usage, is the most common guide journalists use for writing news stories. In general, AP Style is your best option when sharing information via news release, though some exceptions exist (take, for instance, The New York Times). It is always a good idea to research the standard style of your target outlet. Regardless of the specific style guide, active voice is a must and you should always be sure to proofread your news release thoroughly. News releases with strong word choice and excellent grammar are more likely to make it past an editor’s critical eye.
  1. Craft an interesting lead: The most important part of your news release is the lead. Your first sentence should draw in the reader’s attention and provide a roadmap of where your story is headed. Try to answer the five journalistic questions–who, what, where, why and when. Show what makes your announcement stand out from the rest. Trumpet your products’ revolutionary features from the first word, champion your company’s new brand direction, boast any superlatives (“first,” “best,” “biggest”)  and be sure to mention how this is relevant to your target audience. These could be the details that spark the journalists’ interest enough to publish your piece, but you have to show them upfront.
  1. Show why your press release is newsworthy: Be sure to highlight what a journalist will find newsworthy. Try to make sure your story has as many of the following eight qualities as possible:
    • Impact: How will this story affect your audience’s lives?
    • Timeliness: Is this piece relevant to your audience? Why now?
    • Authority: Why should the audience trust this information?
    • Significance: Does your audience care about this story?
    • Human Interest: How can you highlight people’s experiences?
    • Trends: Does this piece capitalize on current trends?
    • Conflict: Does this topic have two opposing viewpoints, or could it benefit from a fresh perspective?
    • Unexpected: Is there something unusual, surprising or exciting about this story?

A strong news release will help you share your story, launch your product and raise your brand awareness. With these tips boosting your news releases, you can begin to set bigger goals and expect to reach a wider audience through earned media coverage. You can even capitalize on that coverage by promoting it through your existing marketing channels, such as your brand’s social media platforms. And if you decide that the advice of professionals specializing in media relations, SEO and corporate communications would help your brand, we’d love to hear from you.