If you are already disseminating press releases to the local newspapers, you may find yourself in a situation where, more often than not, these are either edited considerably or not published at all. Are you doing something wrong or are you simply not in the editors’ good books? Organizations that do not employ professional PR people tend to ignore a few cardinal rules when writing a press release.
Say something interesting: remember that newspapers are after interesting news. Make sure that the information you disseminate is relevant to both the media and public. Avoid writing a press release just to flatter the ego of someone in your company: the news that the owner’s son (employed with the company) has completed and MBA does not interest anyone apart from his mum and dad!
The five Ws: “Who”, “where”, “when”, “what” and “why”. If you include this information in your lead, no matter how much your press release can be edited or cut, you will still be able to convey what matters most. Do not forget that a lead should not exceed 25 words.
Keep it short: the shorter the better. Limiting yourself to 250 words usually ensures that your press release will be published. Anything longer than that may end up with you having to wait for the newspaper to have enough space to feature your press release.
Mind your language: journalists do not have time to waste correcting spelling or grammatical mistakes. Maltese newspapers are constantly inundated with press releases, and the badly written ones are often not published.
Eye for the detail: if necessary, make sure to include all the required contact details of your company and double check them to be certain that you can be reached.