If you’re like me, it doesn’t matter how many press releases you’ve written or how many templates or tricks you have to make the process faster, every release starts with a fresh slate and a lot of questions.
From “What am I writing about again?” to “Is this the best word to include in this sentence?” there are several questions that can go through the head of a PR or marketing pro tasked with writing and editing press releases.
In our distribution checklist Six Questions to Ask Before Sending a Press Release, we cover the basics of formatting your content for promotion.
However, before you can consider sending out your release, you need to determine what story you’re going to tell. Here are some common questions and tips to help.
Who cares about my press release’s story?
Knowing who cares about your brand’s story (especially the specific aspect you’re distributing content about) is a major first step in planning your press release’s strategy.
Each brand has multiple external audiences—such as investors, news media, influencers, customers and prospects—to consider when writing a press release. Take stock of all of these groups and consider which ones you will want to take action after reading your release.
It’s also important at this stage to consider the internal stakeholders your press release will serve. Are you trying to excite your product team with a great new campaign that will showcase their hard work? How will your news announcement or content distribution impact customer-facing staff?
Noting who is invested in your news, and subsequently the success of your press release, will give you context for how it should be written.
Why should people care?
As an advocate for your brand, you’re called on to care deeply about everything that happens to and within the brand. However, that internal excitement doesn’t always guarantee an equally strong response from external audiences.
It takes effort to motivate people to emotionally invest in your story.
An exercise I find helpful is The 5 Whys. When I sit down to write a press release, I repeatedly ask “Why?” until I get to the root of its story.
The key is in finding the angle that is going to help grab and keep a reader’s attention. The more you think about the “why” of a situation, the more likely you are to identify the press release’s best angle.
Another way of thinking about this is: What can I say about this that my target audience will connect with?
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