Of all the communications tools available to businesses and PR professionals, press releases are a core component of maximising audience reach and increasing awareness. As a result of their critical value to PR campaigns, journalists will receive a large volume of press releases and story pitches each day.
Closely mirroring the competitive landscape in the automotive and e-mobility industries, it can be hugely challenging for editors and journalists across the media spectrum to swiftly review the content and choose the news items that will best translate into engaging stories for their readers.
Like many of my colleagues at Influence, the leading automotive and e-mobility PR agency, I have worked in many editor-level roles during my time in journalism. This enables us to exercise a different, ‘insider’ perspective when planning campaigns and establishing what will engage a journalist.
While press releases will – and must – differ according to the industry and target audience, there are a few key considerations that should be factored into each announcement, in order to convince a journalist to convert it into media coverage:
1.) When writing the press release, structure it like a news article. As I previously mentioned, journalists do not have the luxury of time on their side; in order to remain competitive among their fellow publications, they need to swiftly identify valuable, relevant press releases, and convert them into high-quality news articles – often at very short notice.
As a result, your press release should take as much work out of this process for the journalist as possible. This is best achieved by, literally, thinking like a journalist. Ask yourself: “How do we want this press release to appear in a news article? And what news here will help us stand out?”
Your leading news hook should be condensed into a concise headline, with supporting hooks neatly summarised in a few concise bullet points below. For ease of reference, these bullet points should mirror the structure of the press release – making it simple for the journalist to follow.
The body of the press release needs to continue this concise structure, landing a key message per paragraph. This makes it easy for a journalist to extract the most important information, and understand your news, quickly – maximising the opportunity for media coverage.
2.) Keep your messaging simple and jargon-free. This consideration is closely linked to the above. Simple, concise language will enable you to most effectively communicate your business’ unique selling points, and how your business’ contributions to your industry are newsworthy.
While journalists understand that businesses need to establish their own tone of voice, your language should avoid excessive use of jargon and acronyms that may not be widely understood. The level of technical detail you need to include will depend on the audience you are targeting, but making a press release too complicated in any respect will not be conducive to engaging a busy news desk; like their news articles, they will be looking for an intriguing story that they – and most importantly their readers – don’t need to decipher.
In the same vein, quotes from spokespeople should be equally as easy to understand; they should be written with clear language, offer new insight, and ideally be limited to a single, short paragraph. This will maximise the chances of the quote appearing in the article in its entirety, and therefore the chances of you controlling the final output in this respect.
Reach out to our team of world-class automotive and e-mobility PR specialists and former editors at email@example.com to discuss how we can support your storytelling strategy.
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