What’s The Difference Between A Press Release And A Great News Story?
Many marketers new to press releases ask what the difference is between a press release and a great news story. The answer is very little. Your press release should be newsworthy, and interesting enough to capture the attention of anyone interested in your niche or industry.
What is a press release?
As the name suggests, a press release is designed to convey the latest information to the press, that is, journalists and top bloggers. However, they are not just journalists, they are human beings looking for a well-written news story that they would be interested in. In fact, they are looking for one that is so great, they will be willing to pass it along to their own target audience.
Everyone loves a good story
Journalists are very busy people who are always on deadline. They are looking for press releases that will stand out compared to the many press releases that are nothing more than ads. The more compelling your story, the more likely you will get a media pickup, but the information must be genuinely newsworthy. Good examples would include:
- A new product launch
- A live event being held
- A merger
- A new initiative in the business
So, what makes a great story?
1. An attention-getting headline
People will never read your release, no matter how fascinating it is, unless you have a strong headline. Use at least one keyword related to your niche.
2. A supporting sub-headline
The sub-headline is a short preview of what your article will be about. It supports the headline and entices people to read on. Also, use keywords to signal what the story will be about.
3. All of the facts
A good news story should contain all of the essential facts. The 5Ws are a checklist journalists use to make sure they have included the most important facts related to their story. The 5Ws are:
Fill in the blanks, so to speak, for each press release you write. For example, if you were launching a new product, you would tell the audience who you are, what the product is, when and where it is being launched, and why you decided to develop it.
If you were hosting a live event, you’d need to provide factual details to readers so they would know when and where to attend. You would also have to provide enough interesting information to make readers feel excited enough to want to go.
4. The inverted pyramid style
This is classic news storytelling. The inverted pyramid is called this because its broad base is at the top and its narrow point at the bottom. All the most important information about the news story is in the first paragraph or two. Everything else in paragraphs 3 and 4 counts as extra information to enhance the story and connect with the audience.
Your inverted pyramid for press releases and interesting news stories should look like this:
- Paragraph 1-As many of the 5Ws as you can fit
- Paragraph 2-any of the 5Ws remaining, and additional information as needed, such as facts, figures, statistics, and/or quotations
- Paragraph 3-any other additional information as in Paragraph 2, and a call to action at the end
- Paragraph 4-the boilerplate
5. A strong call to action
What do you want people to do once they have read your press release? The action should make sense for both journalists and the target audience. A good example would be to offer tickets to your live event, with an URL where they could register for them.
6. The boilerplate
The boilerplate is a brief description of your company, which should be interesting enough to show why your press release is worth paying attention to.
It should also include your main contact person who will follow up with journalists if they have any questions. Include:
- The name of the contact
- The phone number
- Their email address