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How to find that killer press release angle

 

What’s the single most important factor in getting editors to use your press release? Most people know that press releases have to be set out a certain way, if they’re to get a second glance. So press releases should:
• follow the ‘funnel’ method i.e. sum up the story in the first paragraph and flesh it out with quotes and then background information further down
• be formatted in double spacing
• include company information, photo and contact details at the end.

However, all that effort is wasted if you don’t get the angle right in the first place. In fact, journalists and editors agree that a great angle is the most important aspect of press release writing and determines whether they’ll use the story or not.

 

“All that effort is wasted if you don’t get the press release angle right in the first place.”

 

The most important question to ask when writing a press release

It’s all too easy to get caught up in your subject when you set out to write a press release. You simply forget the number one question you should be asking when you’re looking for an angle i.e. why would the public care about this? (Or as a copywriter would put it ‘What’s in it for me?’) That’s the question every editor who sees your press release is going to ask. And if your headline and first paragraph don’t make it clear why they should care, they’ll move onto the next one without so much as a backward glance.

 

Finding that killer press release angle

In order to find the right press release angle you need to put yourself in the place of the reader. Ask yourself:
• how will my story impact the people reading it?
• does the product/event/service I’m writing about help people save time, effort or money?
• is my story time sensitive e.g. is time running out for people to act?
• is the story endorsed by a national celebrity or recognised authority?
• is the information, product or service genuinely new or innovative?
• what’s unusual about my story?
• does my story relate to another prominent trend or situation?
• is it an inspirational story/has it helped to change someone’s life for the better?
• does my story relate to an upcoming season or event?

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one of these press release angles. In fact, the more angles you can cover with a story, the more press it’s likely to get.

 

Angle your press release for each of you publics

You also need to consider the readership of each editor you’re sending the release to, and angle it accordingly. This means you’ll need several versions, depending on who you’re targeting. It’s extra work, but well worth it for that extra coverage.

 

Three versions of your press release you’ll probably need

So let’s say you’ve developed a new piece of software that makes budgeting easier. Here are three possible versions of your press release you could write.
• For local press − ‘local software company makes good’.
• For industry specific press − ‘software developers overcome X technical difficulties to create new program’.
• For national press − ‘now budgeting is a cinch’.

 

Add to your press release angle

A quote from an industry guru would make your industry specific press release even more effective, while one from a celebrity who’s tried it, would enhance your national press release. A story from a local figure whose life has been transformed by your app would be great for local press, while tying it to a national story about increasing personal debt would be great for all three types of press release.

 

 

Are you finding it hard to come up with that killer press release angle? Our PR copywriters know exactly what appeals to editors. Call us today on 0845 2606 255 and let us write a press release that gets you press.

 

Steve Lodge: Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.