Engineering companies and marketing departments, here’s your guide!
Press releases make up the meat of marketing and PR management, and it’s one of the most important things in a company’s toolkit, no matter the industry. But writing a press release for the first time (or even the tenth or twentieth time) is never an easy task and sometimes you end up doubting yourself. “Did I write this press release well? What if it gets rejected? Who do I even send it to? Do I send it now, or later? What do I do after I send it?”
Let me tell you a secret: it’s good that you’re afraid. Press releases are not that simple, and being cautious is better than being over-confident and thinking that you can churn out press releases that will be picked up by every journalist, blogger, and TV show. Rome wasn’t built in a day – your PR skills won’t be either.
So before you write your press release, arm yourself with knowledge. Know, for instance, that your press release – no matter how avant garde or chic you think your company is – must follow some rules to survive in a world overflowing with other press releases. Here’s how you stand out and get noticed:
1. Choose your topic carefully
Remember: not all news is newsworthy, and that holds true for press releases as well. Your goal here is to share with your community something that is worth sharing and, for a journalist, worth picking up. Journalists get hundreds of press releases from companies every day – having a story that’s new and exciting certainly won’t hurt your chances. Ask yourself, is this story worth writing about? If it is, then write about it. If you do it well enough, they will too.
Engineering Companies Guide to Press Release Writing (Source: Tumblr)
2. Come up with a catchy title
The title is the face of the article. It is what everyone will see first, especially the journalists that you will be emailing this too, because this will the right up there at the subject line. I know we’ve been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, a good title does make or break a press release. Journalists decide upon reading your title whether your press release is news worthy or not. If it doesn’t sound catchy enough, your email often goes right to the trash bin.
The goal here is to keep it clear, simple, and short, about 100 characters maximum. Example: “Ace Engineering raises $550 million for ‘futuristic’ projects”. We learn that an engineering company raised money for new projects. Why are the projects futuristic? Where did the money come from? This title gives plenty of information, but leaves out just enough to whet the reader’s appetite and make them open your press release.
Engineering Companies Guide to Press Release Writing (Source: USCfratlife)
3. Follow up with a short summary
Boxers call it the ol’ one-two – a light left tap quickly followed by a right cross, or in our context, following up your catchy title with an even catchier summary to really reel your readers in. Going with our above example, that press release’s pitch would be: “Ace Engineering received support from the US government as well as private institutions to research and develop technology inspired by the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises”. I don’t know about you, but I want to read the rest of that press release.
Keep in mind though, that a press release is not a sales pitch. You are not selling your company here. You’re sharing new and exciting information, more or less objectively. Keep the summary short, about 250 characters, and throw away that promotional tone.
Engineering Companies Guide to Press Release Writing (Source: Reddit)
4. Keep the body accessible
In the field of engineering, jargon is everywhere. But remember, not everyone who gets to read your press release would be an engineer. Keep jargon to a minimum and make sure that the press release can be appreciated by any random reader. Also, don’t make it too long – 400 to 500 words are enough, just make sure to include enough information.
Engineering Companies Guide to Press Release Writing (Source: Univ. Alaska Fairbanks)
5. Use multimedia
Nobody wants to go through a wall of text. That would be boring and monotonous, so it would be in your best interests to shake things up with smart use of multimedia. Include a video that goes over your topic in more detail, include a photo, maybe even throw in a meme or two – but make sure that they are all relevant. And don’t use copyrighted content, unless it is with proper citation.
Engineering Companies Guide to Press Release Writing (Source: Orange Technical College)
Once you have all that down pat, it’s time to write your own press release. And remember, you’re in the digital age, and you don’t need to wait for journalists to do all your work for you. Spread the news to your Facebook friends, or to your Twitter followers. That’s what the Internet is for.
Here’s an illustration to guide you: