8 Free PR Tools That Will Help You Write the Perfect Press Release

8 Free PR Tools That Will Help You Write the Perfect Press Release

Writing, whether it’s a press release or case study, can sometimes feel like a monumental task. That’s why looking at trends in your industry or via a social listening platform can surface stories and data that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to detect. Here are other tools that can assist you in writing a press release when inspiration is elusive, but a deadline is imminent.
Wendy Marx
14 November 2018

Social media has changed how people communicate around the globe. It’s led to political revolutions and even created pop culture phenomena. As businesses scramble to figure out how to harness the power of social media to reach new audiences, a familiar marketing tool – the press release – has now gained fresh purpose. Press releases have become a vital tool and more important than ever in successfully promoting your company. Find out how you can leverage press releases and specific content to help investors, customers, potential employees and other target groups learn more about your company.

First, let’s look at what not to do:

The 4 Culprits of Below-Par Press Release Writing

1. Euphemisms

Euphemisms are innocent words that we use to replace ones that might be more offensive. A great example would be replacing “She died” with “She passed away.”

In press releases, this kind of wordplay could raise more questions than answers — or just seem blah. This could be problematic for journalists. In the end, if a press release is too confusing or just plain boring, it is tossed aside in favour of a more straightforward, engaging option.

2. Hyperboles

This term, often used in poetry, uses exaggeration to make a point. A common way that this works its way into press releases is to endow human characteristics to a product to make it more appealing. For example, “It’s so intuitive that it knows what you’re thinking before you do.” It definitely catches your attention, but often comes with a healthy dose of scepticism.

In the end, it’s better to leave the hyperbole to the poets. When writing your press release, don’t exaggerate anything. It will only harm your reputation as a trustworthy source. Give it to them straight, with no overstatements.

3. Industry Jargon

Outside of your industry, few if any will understand your lingo. For instance, if you’re not plugged into the business world, will you understand what “core competency” or “buy-in” is? Chances are no — and you’re not going to want to google every unfamiliar term you come across.

So skip the jargon and focus on making your press release accessible to everyone, inside and outside your industry.

4. Gibberish

We can basically boil this term down to nonsense. This is when you use pretentious terms that weigh down your press release. “Streamlined technology.” “Precision targeting.” “Innovative design.” At first, these terms may look flowery and attractive, especially to a marketer who is trying to hype up a product. But when you’re reading a press release, it just gets in the way.

Instead, stick to the facts. Be detailed but steer clear from the pretentious wording and hyped language.

Now that you know some of the hazards to avoid in your writing, let’s talk about some of the free PR tools that can help you make your press release the best it can be.

free pr tools to write the perfect press releaseImage: Essay on Time

8 Free PR Tools That Will Help You Write the Perfect Press Release

1. Grammarly

There are few elements that are as important to your press release as spelling and grammar. Such careless mistakes appear unprofessional — and could mean the bitter end for your release.

This tool makes it easy by giving you helpful suggestions for spelling and grammar — and keeping a running tally of mistakes so that you always know where you stand. It also integrates with most writing programs and apps.

2. Hemingway Editor

Looking for another editing tool? This one might be more to your taste — especially if you’re more visual and want more detailed correction.

The Hemingway Editor color codes each grammar and spelling mistake as you go so you can see exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it. From run-on sentences to adverbs that could weaken your sentences, it has helpful suggestions to improve your writing.

3. OneLook Reverse Dictionary

It’s easy to fall into a word rut — using the same word over and over again. This can be dangerous when it comes to press releases. if you do it too much, your audience will likely notice and lose interest.

This tool goes beyond a simple thesaurus — it can look up words based on their definition. For example, if you enter the phrase “speak softly,” it gives you such options as a murmur, whisper, coo, etc. This allows you to avoid redundancy and spice up your press release with new words that engage your audience.

4. Cliche Finder

Cliches can add a whimsical touch to your writing. But when you write press releases, cliches can get in the way and muddle your main message. After all, you want to differentiate your company or yourself in a release.

Just enter your press release into Cliche Finder’s editor and it will conveniently list all of your cliches. This helps you to improve your writing and avoid the cliche pitfall.

5. PR BuzzSaw

Buzzwords: The bane of every industry. And for journalists, who have to comb through press releases every day, these buzzwords can be like nails on a chalkboard.

I appreciate the description that PR BuzzSaw uses to describe its product: “This free tool automatically hacks PR buzzwords out of press releases to make life more bearable for Britain’s hard-working journalists.”

Use this tool to clean up your press release of the most annoying buzzwords, and present a final copy that journalists will happily devour.

6. StayFocusd

StayFocusd is a digital tool that allows you to do just that.

On this platform, you can choose the exact apps or websites that you know distract you the most, and block them from whichever device you’re working from, or all of your devices, for a set period of time. Many people say they feel their freshest and most productive first thing in the morning. We challenge you to block all distracting apps from 8 a.m – 12 p.m. Try it for a week and realise – firstly, how addicted we are to social media, checking notifications and messages – but also, how pleasant it is to work without distractions.

StayFocusd - Tools to Increase Your Productivity

7. Wordcounter

Word count is an important part of your press release. You want to make sure it is a reasonable length without being long-winded. While most writing programs come with a word count feature, they can be buried in the drop down menu; besides it’s a hassle to constantly stop writing to check your progress.

Wordcounter is an easy solution that enables you to keep track of your word count with a mere glance at the top of your screen. Write your press release in its editor, with a big, bold word and character counter at the top so you never have to leave your work to check on it.

8. Answer the Public

It won’t matter how much work you put into your press release if no one reads it. People will read your story only if it interests them and touches their lives. So what can you do to make your news more appealing, short of reading minds?

This free tool will tell you what is on people’s minds by telling you the most common things that they’ve searched for on Google. This can be a great way to make your press release more relevant to your target audience.

For instance, if your press release is about a new launch of your accounting software, you might enter the term “accounting software” into this tool, and see what people are asking or searching for on search engines — and incorporate that information into your release.

Key Takeaways

Simple and free press release tools can really kick your press release writing into high gear. So the next time you’re writing a press release, remember to take advantage of these and other press release tools.

Now that you know the Do’s and Don’ts, watch this free on-demand Webinar on How to Write the Perfect Press Release. Reach out to the Meltwater India Team if you have any questions.