How to Write Like a Journalist
A lot of marketers struggle to write effective press releases that will get lots of media pickups. One of the ways they could try to improve their releases is to try to write more like a journalist and less like a pushy online marketer.
Here are some of the best ways to write more like a journalist and less like a salesman.
1-Be sure it is real news
Most companies issue press releases when they have something important to tell, such as:
- New quarterly earnings reports
- Major milestones
- Product launches
- Live events
2-Learn how to write great headlines
The headline is the first and possibly only thing most readers will ever see on a page with links to press releases, such as at a press release distribution service, or news stories of interest, such as on a prominent industry blog, so make your headline stand out.
It should have:
- At least 1 keyword to tell readers what the story will be about
- Short, sharp, concise, strong words that suggest interest or excitement
- An emotive word that connects with the audience’s feelings.
- Meals on Wheels Funding Slashed
- Healthy 21-Year-Old Bodybuilder Dies Just Days After Flu Diagnosis
- Hospital Caught Dumping Patient On To Freezing Cold Street
The headline acts as the hook to make people want to read more of the story.
3-Learn the 6Ws
The 6Ws of journalism are:
They are used as a checklist to ensure that all of the most important details in relation to the story are included.
Journalists often try to fit all this data into the first paragraph, because statistics show that while 100% of people will read your headline, only 70% will read your first paragraph and only 50% will ever read the second. This factual approach will tell people what they need to know up front, without having to wade through lots of information.
Some of the information should also be in the headline:
Healthy 21-Year-Old Bodybuilder Dies Just Days After Flu Diagnosis
Who: Healthy 21-Year-Old Bodybuilder
Why: Suspected flu
In terms of your own business-related stories, your 6Ws could convey the significance of your product or event:
SpaceX scheduled to test fire Falcon Heavy rocket Thursday
Who: SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company that is trying to make space travel for ordinary people possible
What: Test firing the Falcon Heavy rocket
Why (implied): to see if it works
We just need to know where, and how it will be tested.
4-Offering your expertise
Many news stories contain quotes from experts that support the story. They also make it seem to be worth paying attention to. Once you’ve covered the 6Ws, what else do you include? Facts, figures, and quotations from those in the know can all help.
5-Offering them something great
As media representatives and ordinary readers read your information, they will be wondering at the back of their minds, “What’s in it for me?” In other words, why should they care?
If you are announcing an event to be held, give them a few exciting things to look forward to. If you are launching a product, mention some of the most important benefits so they will be eager to learn more.