5 Basic Skills That Press Release Writers Need

Writing is a specialty skill. Not everyone can do it, and certainly not everyone wants to write and create content. Not all writers can manage press release writing. Even highly skilled writers struggle with the goals, format, and style that a good press release requires. If you’re looking internally or externally for a press release writer, there are a few basic skills to look for.

1. Copywriting Skills – It’s true that a press release is definitely not a sales piece. There are no “buy now” links, nor do you actively sell in a press release. The job of a press release is to convey newsworthy information. So why is it important that your writer have copywriting skills? They need to be able to craft an attention-grabbing headline. They also need to be able to include a compelling call to action that motivates readers to click on a link. These are two essential elements of a press release, and without these skills a writer, and your press release, may struggle.

2. Good Interviewing Skills – Your writer needs to be able to glean good quotes from your customers and employees. The quotes add personality to your press release and support your content. They add interest and value. Most press release quotes sound, and probably are, fabricated. The writer makes them up. Good quotes come from good interviewing skills and the ability to ask questions that generate an authentic and relevant quote.

3. Research Skills – Creating newsworthy content is one thing, backing it up with relevant facts and statistics is another. Your writer needs to be able to dig deep and find useful information that not only provides value but also proves your statements and information to be correct.

4. Empathy – Can your writer put themselves into your audience’s shoes and determine what’s important to them? Can they identify with your reader and create content that appeals to them? It’s important for your press release writer to be able to view your information from your audience’s perspective and to then create a press release that will grab their attention, motivate action, and provide value.

5. Brevity – A press release is a structured document with only about 400 to 500 words to work with. There’s no room for extensive detail. Your writer needs to be able to communicate the information within a few compelling words.

When you’re hiring a press release writer or looking within your organization, ask for samples. Read the samples they provide and ask yourself if they have these five basic skills. Writing a press release is a difficult job. Once you find a good writer, work hard to keep them. They’re a valuable asset to your team.

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