How to Write a News Release in the Modern Age of Journalism
The past decade has brought many changes to the journalistic scene. Among other things, this means that you need to learn how to write a news release that speaks to the needs of modern journalists. Doing this will amp up your results, and create new opportunities for your B2B business.
In a previous article about press release best practices, we covered the basics, such as crafting an awesome press release headline, or what to include within the body of your press release. But now we’re going to go a little deeper into the journalist psyche. Let’s see exactly how journalism has changed in the last decade, and what this means for your press release.
The Main Challenges Facing Modern Journalists
A lot has happened since the glory days of 10 or 15 years ago, when newsrooms were full and buzzing, and journalism was a bustling career. Many journalists today face special challenges in their careers that didn’t previously exist. Some of these challenges include…
Since the growth of social media and online, many news budgets are being cut, and traditional media outlets are shrinking the number of staff. Those who are left are faced with stress, extra workloads, and ever-looming, merciless deadlines.
Technology & Social Media
New technology and ongoing strides in social media have changed to some degree how journalists function. For many, followers and engagement rates on social media are the lifeblood to their career. Media outlets put pressure on their journalists to get more likes, shares, and comments than their competitors.
There is also more for journalists to learn than before. They constantly fight to stay on top of new technology, changes to social media, and new editorial techniques, as well as their own creativity — not to mention the news.
With all the hype about fake news, many journalists are under pressure to get all their facts straight. That makes it more incumbent than ever for PR professionals to write press releases that are screechingly accurate.
Now let’s take a closer look at how these challenges within journalism affect how you write news releases.
6 Helpful Tips on How to Write a News Release That Captures the Interests of Modern Journalists
1. Anticipate Their Needs
Because journalists are under such a time crunch, having a ready-to-go press release is very appealing. Inculde all the necessary information for a journalist to pick up and use right away.
What information is needed to make this a story? Put it at a journalist’s fingertips. This may include key statistics, background information about your company, and how this announcement affects the industry. You should also include links to supporting information that will add further details.
Right within the first paragraph, you’ll want to answer the essential questions of your reader — the who, what, where, when, and why. Show them grom the get go exactly what to expect from your release.
2. Use Multimedia
Multimedia is an integral part of modern journalism. Colorful infographics and images enliven a news release and make it more visually appealing for journalists and their audiences.
The advancement of mobile has made multimedia even more necessary. Many journalists look at press releases on their mobile devices. Releases with visual content are the easiest to read, and usually stimulate the most response.
3. Put on Your Journalist Thinking Cap
Think like a journalist. What pressures are they under? What information and tools do they need from you to create a killer story that will satisfy their readers and viewers?
Also reflect on the pressures that journalists are under. With resources tight within many news outlets, journalists are under a crunch to produce top-quality stories in a short period of time. Does your press release give them everything they need to do that?
4. Think Out of the Box
Get creative with your press release. Engage journalists with your story. Storytelling is one of the leading press release best practices in the era of modern journalism. Journalists and bloggers need to feel drawn in and a part of the story you’re telling.
Don’t hesitate to use new innovative methods or tools that will set your press release apart from the pack. For instance, sharable multimedia content can help differentiate your press releases. What new tools could you use in your next press release?
5. Take to Social Media
The convenience and wide reach of social media platforms make them an excellent tool to use with the modern news release. Because editorial resources are thin in many media outlets, the majority turn to social media to find stories and do research.
Key in on the social networks that are most effective in your industry — where your audience stays on top of industry news and events. For many B2B businesses, this means LinkedIn and Twitter. Look for groups within these social networks that journalists in your industry are already using.
6. Optimize Your Press Release
Google is a top tool used by journalists to seek out their next story. Make sure that your news release is fully optimized to appear at the top of the list in search engines.
Use a keyword research tool to find out what journalists in your industry are researching. Aim for long-tail keywords that will offer lower competition — this ensures that your release will more quickly make it to the top of search engines results pages.
Once you’ve chosen a reliable keyword, it’s time to insert it into your news release. Make sure it is in the title, first paragraph, and within the alt text of images. Small steps like these are often the key to journalists finding your release.
A Few Points to Remember…
- Cutbacks, technology and the hype about fake news are just some of the issues facing modern journalists.
- Include multimedia in your news releases to capture the attention of journalists and set your release apart.
- Use social media to find relevant journalists and connect with them.
- Always optimize your news release for search engines.
As times change, and you learn how to write a news release that catches the eye of modern journalists, this will push you and your business to the top.
This article originally appeared in The B2B PR Blog.