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Interiors Business School

How to write press releases that grab headlines.

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Tim Duncan, the founder of TDC PR, sums up a press release pretty seamlessly here. I too see a great press release like an edible treat, a cupcake in this instance.

Press releases are a great vehicle to get a story on the radar. Sent directly to journalists and editors, or hosted on your site in the hope of an SEO pick up, they are the vehicle for news dissemination.

If we unpack Tim's press release guidance a little more, repetition is the foundation of a press release, but that doesn't mean saying the same thing over and over again. Let's take a look at the recipe for press release success.

The cherry on top

That's right we are starting in reverse. The cherry on top of a great press release is the headline.

You have around 70 characters to impress. That's about half a tweet of carefully considered words to say why the story is interesting.

Here's an example: 'First furniture collection for Lorna Studio.' (Boring!)

Lets try again: 'Lorna Studio's collection reminds us why design matters.' (I'm intrigued)

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Adding some punch without exaggeration can be a hard balance to strike, but this is the first and only opportunity you have to capture the reader. Bare in mind editors receive over 200 press releases a day, make those seconds count.

Using a name they know will capture attention, but where that's not possible make the focus the unique story, you're sharing.

The juicy bit

The lead paragraph is where you succinctly cover off the who, what, why, when and where of your story.

The best way to do this is to ask yourself what's unique and newsworthy about your story. Do you have an exciting client? Was the project made entirely from recycled materials? Are you launching a collaboration? Get to the point, and make it a great one.

Aim for no more than 150 words, and avoid echoing the headline, or sub-heading within the first line.

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If it's appropriate, you can also newsjack here. Piggybacking on the wave of a particularly popular and relevant topic if it's still relevant can be a selling point for journalists.

For example, redesigning an all-female members club, around the time of International Women's Day is a match made in heaven.

Top Tip: Avoid attaching a PDF of your press release within an email to a journalist, the computer systems are antiquated and can reject attachments at spam.

Instead, copy and paste this lead paragraph into your email with an embedded URL link to 'read more', taking them to a WeTransfer, G-Drive or Dropbox folder with your images, quotes, evidence and full press release in.

The core

It isn't the time to become subtle or to start waffling around, the bulk of the press release needs to remain focussed and on message. Use this space to unpack the story a little more, so a journalist doesn't have to dig for information.

Quotes from essential stakeholders- such as your head of design, or a client, add gravitas to your press release. If you have data about sales or your client base, consider sharing them here. Ensure both are accurate, pertinent and contextual adding weight to the story not detracting from it.

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The trimmings

From the boilerplate to the layout, these are your brand's signifiers. At the end of a press release, you must share a short synopsis of your company, who you are, and what you do.

The layout of the press release should reflect your brand, from your typeface to the colours you choose. However, avoid downloadable fonts that don't translate onto every computer, choose a standard one that is similar to your usual.

The whole press release should be no more than 400 words, roughly a page. We know that it's easy to shrink the font to get a little bit more information in, but resist the temptation, you want to make it as easy as possible for a journalist to pick your press release out of the pack.

You can incorporate imagery and links within the text. Curate a couple of headline images that best illustrate your point, ensuring the file size is reduced to keep the download fast.

If you have more great images to share, or further evidence for your story, embed the links into your press release, with clear calls to action so that the reader can peruse them at their leisure.

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Taste test

Before you share your press release, have someone read it out loud. As Tim's words explained at the beginning of the article, you should be finding different methods of reiterating the same story throughout.

If you get to the end and you feel the point was lost along the way, or something was distracting, change it.

Find out more about what goes into a successful communication and PR plan here.

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