Back to Basics: Press Release “Musts” To Check For Before You Submit
[By Angela Buna & Kait Fowlie]
Many PR professionals are well-versed in the basics of writing news releases (for those of who you want a refresher, refer to our editorial guide – revisit our post, How to Build Successful News Releases). Aside from structure and content, there are certain essential elements of a release, from an operational perspective, that are worth reviewing. These are essential to be aware of in order to avoid delays in both activating new accounts and submitting press releases. Here are a few of these musts:
Must provide a news source. All releases must identify the news source. If the release is being distributed through an agency or other company on behalf of a client, the news source will be the client name.
Must provide attribution. Your news release’s direct quotes must provide attribution that establishes the credibility of each person quoted. The first mention of the speaker should give his or her full name, title and company, where applicable.
Must be written in the third-person voice. All press releases should be written in the third person using professional language. Keep in mind how readers will receive this content – they are interested in and expecting to receive news. A release should avoid personal / individual news, and the content should be relevant to a particular audience.
Must be objective. A well-written news release will inform the reader of the subject matter, in an objective voice, avoiding promotional content or language. This is particularly important because it ensures that the content sent to news media and other influencers is relevant and newsworthy.
Must be newsworthy. Profile-building, self-promoting content or content that expresses a clear intention of building its owner’s profile is unacceptable. In addition, avoid “name dropping” in which someone famous is referenced who has no connection to the company or product.
Must include contact information. A contact person / company name, phone number and / or email address indicating the appropriate source of materials is required. The contact must be someone who is authorized to send releases on behalf of the company. A contact also lends legitimacy to the content in the release by clearly stating who is responsible for it.
Must contain correct and appropriate links. The links contained in a release are a very important aspect to review and approve for accuracy. In addition, links should not lead to any sort of lewd or offensive images or websites, or lead back to pop-ups or a webpage that contains promotional messaging.
Before you submit your release, make sure you’ve included these 7 “musts,” and also that your release is formatted correctly. Formats can be slightly different, depending on what country you’re in and what newswire provider you’re with. See our full News Release Formatting Checklist for more standard news release must-haves that you need to keep in mind. If you’re unsure, send your concerns to Marketwired Editorial / Client Team Sales Ops.