Maybe your band is playing a big show, or your bands line up has changed, or maybe your pet hamster who you named your debut single after has sadly passed on. There are so many different reasons for writing a press release, and if you’re managing your own PR I’ve devised some top tips for writing a successful press release!
1. Spelling and grammar
I know, I know. It might seem so simple, but if the spelling and grammar isn’t spot on, a journalist won’t even bother reading on. Make sure your press release is polished and something your GCSE English teacher would be proud of you for! A simple spell check on Microsoft Word will do all the work for you and it’ll only take a couple of seconds!
2. Include the 5 W’s (& 1 H)
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? This is the basis of a press release. You need to be telling whoever you’re sending it to who you are, what you are doing or what happened, where it happened or is happening, when it happened or is happening, why you’re doing it and how you’re doing it. Maybe not all of these apply but the 5 W’s (& 1 H) can act as the skeleton of the press release and you can just flesh it out around these points.
3. Make sure you have an angle
An interesting angle I may add. I know I used the pet hamster example in the introduction to this post, but will the press really care about this? An interesting angle is dependent on who the target audience of the publication is. What is interesting to the readers of an online blog will be totally different to what is interesting to the readers of a local newspaper. So make sure you know the audience and think of an angle that will interest them!
An interesting headline is a must. Make it short, snappy, and straight to the point. One sentence is all it needs. For example, maybe you’re sending a press release to your local newspaper because your band has just won a slot to play at Download Festival. Don’t put a headline like: “Sunderland band *insert band name here* will be sharing a stage with *insert big band name here* at Download Festival on *insert date here* after winning *insert competition name here*.” That’s way too long and includes a lot of the information already. Maybe put something more like “Sunderland band *insert band name here* to share a stage with huge rock band at top Summer festival”. There’s enough information there to tell the journalist what it’s about, yet making them want to read on.
5. Don’t overdo the information
Read an article similar to the one you envision being written about your press release, pick out the important bits and stick to that. Press releases tend to just be one A4 page long and rarely longer than that. Journalists don’t want to be overrun with press releases that include every intricate detail of everything about your band. Stick to the basics and if the journalist wants to know anything else, they’ll get in touch.
6. Include a bit of background information
At the end of the press release, especially if you are a relatively small band or artist, it’s always a good idea to include a little bit of background information about yourself or your band, such as your line up, when you formed, your singles and albums to date, if you’ve won any awards etc. Always leave an email address or telephone number in case the journalist wants any more information!
I hope this list of tips will help you write press releases! If you think I’ve forgotten anything, let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading and good luck!