During the first two years, THE AMIRIS focused on offering a training course on how to write an effective press release for PR and marketing professionals in the travel and hospitality industry. Crossing over from journalism to PR, this was the perfect exercise to promote THE AMIRIS’ strengths in providing newsroom solutions and communications services – based on my bi-lingual experience and expertise on both fields.
Three one-day courses were conducted in 2012 to share my knowledge and experiences on how to write an effective press release, one that contains news value.
First, let’s start with the theory on writing news articles.
1. Identifying the elements of news
Whether it is immediacy, timeless, proximity, prominence, impact, unusualness, conflict, suspense, consequence, progress, sex, people in power, popularity, or entertaining? If your organisation has just organised a corporate social responsible (CSR) project, it’s immediacy as you need to disseminate the news as it happens to “earn” editorial coverage. It’s also proximity as it is something that is closed to the hearts of people in the community that will benefit from the CSR project.
2. Identifying story ideas & good story
Whether it contains related and background information, as well as clarity and completeness. Is it accurate? Can it be verified? What’s the objective of the story? If your client has just received an award, then the objective of the story is to reiterate the excellence of the client. But you must be able to verify that the award is given by an accredited institution.
3. Creating basic story structure
Keep it simple. The structure should contain the headline, lead, context and background, and supporting information. Follow the principles of 5Ws and 1H: who, what, when, why, where, and how. Structure the details in the inverted pyramid format:
Next, let’s me share with you the principles of writing an effective press release.
The Four PR steps
Defining problem and fact finding – why you need to communicate with the general public
Planning and programming – how do you plan to communicate with the general public
Acting and communicating – the actions
Evaluating – the results
2. Press Release: common but often troublesome
Making a good story
Providing important message
Finding details that make stronger story
Answering basic questions
Addressing why it’s so important to the readers
Calling the right contact person at the right media
No revise unless super reason arrives
3. Value of information
So what? (why it’s so important for the readers to know)
Why should reader or press care?
Why should they bother to read this story?
How is it important to reader?
What’s really important here, beyond all the talks and actions?
How will this development affect reader?
If you do not have answers to all these questions, then don’t waste your time trying to send useless info to the press. By the core principles of journalism, responsible journalists will evaluate the value of information before writing or publishing it. If your info does not make the cut, it will be trashed.
Let’s me end this blog with guidelines to crisis management. Over the last four years, I’ve been preparing a vast number of content for crisis management for my clients, and helping to disseminate them via digital PR tools.
Here’re my recommendations for effective crisis communication:
A spokesperson with same words
Ask for questions in advance
Deal with “silence” and “no comment”
Talk to people
Deal with rumours
Call the right contact person at the right media
If you need more detail or assistance on how to write an effective press release, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org