Take note: Even though they’ve been around for a long time, press releases are not so yesterday. In fact, they remain a great way to raise awareness and spread the word about a specific project or initiative that your nonprofit is launching. The trick is, how do you make sure it gets noticed?
A well-written press release is an effective way to tell your story—but first you have to get the media’s attention. Use these five tips for writing one that actually gets read.
- Lead with a good hook. In one to three sentences, write a condensed version of your story that includes all the important info. In fact, a reader should get the gist of your story from just the headline and the first (possibly second) paragraph. Journalists see hundreds of press releases and it might be the only part of your press release that someone reads, so make it count.
- Use the inverted pyramid technique. The body of your press release should lead with the most important information, then go on to fill in the blanks, leaving the least noteworthy details for last. So think “top heavy” when prioritizing your content and messaging.
- Use plain English. Avoid obscuring your message by using industry jargon or nonprofit speak—write in a way that the average person will understand without having to Google unfamiliar words or references. It’s easy to get into the habit of using terminology and words that you throw around with colleagues and staff members, but remember your audience. Your press releases don’t go to nonprofit people.
- Keep it focused. You should write about one specific piece of newsworthy information; it’s not the place to list a bunch of different things that you do well. Focus on one thing, like an event or online fundraising campaign launch. Also, this isn’t the place to get super creative and witty—stick to the facts and keep it all to one page, ideally. Hook yourself to a star. In other words, tie what you’re writing about to something else happening in the news lately—a current or community event, a new trend in technology, the holiday season or maybe pop culture. The more relevant your press release is, the more likely it is to get picked up by news sources.
One last thing: Don’t forget to publish your press releases yourself! Include them on your website, post them on your blog and share them on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn are perfect for that). This will make your news available to a wider audience and can generate buzz as well.
At Firespring, we’re in the business of generating buzz for your organization by providing you with a robust, affordable website and all the online tools necessary to spread the word. Have you checked us out yet? Call us at 877.447.8941 to learn more or request a free website demo today.