Your Press Release Sucks! Here Are 5 Tips To Make it Better

5 tips on how to write a press release that will get you noticed!
Your Press Release Sucks! Here Are 5 Tips To Make it Better
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In: SciComm

Sifting through the flood of press releases being generated daily has taught me something: most press releases suck!

If it's not dozens, it's sometimes hundreds of company announcements that you have to read through to pick out the best.

That’s what all B2B journalists have to go through every day.

The success rate of your PR is low, so you need to stand out to get published.

Here are four ways to improve your PR and help you get noticed by the press.

1/ Pick your fight

Media space is limited, so it doesn’t make sense to expect press coverage for every little piece of news about your company.

Your PR agency will undoubtedly tell you that being visible in the newsfeed is essential to keeping your name in the public eye.

My experience as a newsroom leader is that after a while, my brain tends to ignore companies that release boring news (press release fatigue, anyone?).

Your PR agency may be pushing you to release frequently because some news might be of interest to niche trade publications.

If that's the case, there's no need to write an expensive press release that will be distributed into the void of the newswire.

Instead, reach out to the trade media directly.

If your news is targeted to them, they’ll listen, and you’ll build personal relationships, which is always beneficial in the long run.

I ignore 99% of the press releases from newswires, but I take a look at 100% of personal emails written to us.

They don’t always make it to the front page, but at least I consider what they have to say.

2/ Stop with the boring quotes

Let’s face it, most PR quotes are boring corporate statements enclosed in quotation marks.

Add value to your quotes.

Share information that is not already in the press release, which is not only saying, “We’re the best at what we do” or, “This new partnership is a great opportunity.

This will increase your chances of being published and also make the media coverage using your quotes more captivating to readers.

3/ Write like a journalist

There’s nothing worse than a press release starting with an indigestible sentence.

Take a look at this example from a recent PR I received (note: company names, locations, and dates have been redacted to protect anonymity):

“PARIS, MILAN, and HAMBURG, August 21, 2023 – Utopia Pharma, Inc. (“Utopia”), a world-class biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes high quality medicines for the treatment of oncology, metabolic, autoimmune, ophthalmology and other major diseases, and Paradise Bioscience, a global biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing novel therapies for cancers, chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and age-related diseases, today announce that… [Sentence continue]”

The full sentence is over 130 damn words (that’s almost a pamphlet)!

There’s so much information to unpack that your brain will fry by the second line.

Besides, it's useless because most of the information is repeated in the rest of the PR anyway.

General information about the company is always in the “About” section of the PR, so there is no need to cram as many keywords as possible in the first sentence.

Get to the point.

"Utopia Pharma and Paradise Bioscience today announce + [the info]”

That’s what we’re after.

If you make journalists' lives easier, they'll reward you handsomely.

All the nitty-gritty details can be developed in the following paragraphs.

For example, knowing details like the drug indication, clinical results, deal value, etc. is super important, but if that information is crammed into a 130-word sentence, it loses its meaning.

Unpack your intro into several paragraphs; you’ll thank me later.

4/ Don’t use superlatives

All companies want to be “the most disruptive” and develop “breakthrough innovations” that will change the world.

Please tone down the intensity.

I know you want your company to look good, but there is no need to use superlatives in every sentence to show it.

If your innovation is really that good, people will recognize it, not you.

If every company is labeled as “world-class,” then the significance of each one disappears.

Be humble, and show true innovation through your work, not through superlatives.

5/ Work on your title

Most press releases end up in an email inbox.

This means that your real estate in terms of words is limited.

When journalists receive your email, you have a split second to convince them to open it.

This crucial moment is defined by your email subject.

The shorter it is, the better, because most email clients cut the subject line after a certain number of characters.

As a general rule, keep your email subject under 60 characters (yes, it's short).

Remember all the tips above; don’t use any superlatives, just get to the point:

“Company A signs $XXXM deal with Company B”

Once the recipient clicks on your email, there is one more chance to convince them to read on, and that is your press release title.

You can expand your title more than your email subject, but again, cut to the chase!

Stick to the most important information:

“Company A signs $XXXM deal with Company B to develop new therapy for [your indication]”

That's it, you don't need more to grab someone's attention when your press release is targeted at their publication.

In conclusion, if you want to improve your chances of getting published and standing out from the hundreds of press releases that journalists receive every day, you need to be strategic in your approach.

Focus on news that matters, add value to your quotes, write like a journalist, and avoid using the same superlatives as everyone else.

By following these tips, you'll increase your chances of catching the media’s attention and getting your message across to your target audience.

And if you are still struggling to write a good press release, make sure you are working with the right kind of writer.

Written by
Joachim Eeckhout
Over the past decade, I have specialized in science communication and marketing while building a successful biotech media company. Now, I'm sharing what I've learned with you on The Science Marketer.
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