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Yogurt Top Marketing Digital Media
Yogurt Top Marketing Digital Media

DIY PR – How to write your own press releases

DIY PR is something that a lot of people reach out to us to help them with.

If you’re looking to get DIY PR media coverage for your business, first of all, you need to be able to write an effective press release. But how long should a press release be? And what kind of information should you include?

Here are a few top tips to help get you started:

Make sure your story is newsworthy.

Before you even attempt to write a press release, its almost essential to think about the things you like to read, watch and listen to in the media. Most of us are generally interested in things we haven’t heard before, find surprising, or will help solve problems. So, before drafting your DIY PR press release, its worth asking yourself these questions:

  • Is there anything ‘new’ in my story?
  • Is there anything unusual, or perhaps unexpected about it?
  • Would this be of interest to anyone outside of my business?
  • Will anyone actually care?

The last pointer may seem harsh, but it is probably the most important. You might be excited about your new marketing director, or maybe the launch of your new product, but will anyone else be interested? If the answer is ‘No’, hold off on that press release until you’ve got a better story.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your DIY PR press release is newsworthy, read, watch or listen to the publications or programes you might like to see yourself in, to get a feel for the kind of stories they typically cover.

Write killer headlines.

Most journalists get hundreds of emails every. single. day. so it’s a good idea to label emails containing your DIY PR press release with the phrase ‘press release’ or  ‘story idea’. A magnificent story line is also a must.

However, don’t try to be clever. Most journalists will spend only a few seconds deciding whether something looks interesting. If it’s not especially relevant or ‘stand out’, or immediately understand what your DIY PR story is about, they’ll move on to the next thing in their inbox, subsequently leaving you in the trash.

So – if your DIY PR story is about the launch of the first financial planning consultancy for women, say exactly that. ‘Women cash in on financial planning’ might sound like a better headline, but may mean nothing to a busy journalist scanning their inbox for juicy stories.

Get your top line in the first line of your DIY PR story.

Getting a journalist to open your email is important. However, if your first sentence doesn’t grab them, they may not read any further. Its for this reason you need to get the ‘top line’ (the most important bit) of your story right at the beginning of the press release. Your first line should be a summary of the story, and read like the opening of a news story.

Journalists are generally taught to get as many of the ‘Five W’s’ (who, what, where, when and why) into the opening line of a news story. If you want examples of great first lines for press releases, be sure to look at your daily newspaper.

An especially relevant trick is to imagine your story is going to be covered on a TV or Radio programme. A presenter generally has around 5-6 seconds in order to introduce each item. For example; “Coming up next… why a local cafe owner is giving a free coffee this weekend to everyone born in July”. If your story was going to be featured on the radio today, how would the presenter introduce it? Being sure to ask yourself that question should give you a top line for your DIY PR story.

Be concise.

The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side, or about 300 to 400 words. That’s just three or four short paragraphs and a couple of quotes. If your DIY PR story is longer than that, you’ve probably got unnecessary waffle that doesn’t add anything to your press release.

Don’t be tempted to include background information about your company in the opening paragraph. This, along side any other additional information, can be included in a ‘notes to editors’ section at the end.

Sub headings and bullet points can be useful to make information easier to digest, particularly if you’re using figures or statistics.

Use quotes to provide insight, not information.

Including quotes from people within your company can be helpful for journalists (and in regional or trade publications, they’re often used word-for-word). A common beginner’s mistake is to provide information, for example, “last year, we employed 100 staff in 12 different countries and turned over £5m”.

Quotes should be used to provide insight and opinion, and sound like a real person said them. They most definately shouldn’t be filled with jargon or technical language.

A few more tips for your DIY PR…

Whilst it can be a usefull background document for journalists, a press release isn’t a story. If you want to maximise your chances of getting press coverage, you’ll have to tweak your idea, and your release, for different publications or programmes.

When you send a DIY PR press release, it’s a good idea to include a short outline of your idea (no more than a paragraph) and where you might think it fits in the publication you are pitching to. Paste your press release underneath an email, as a busy journalist may not bother to open or download an attachment. Photo’s can be helpful if they add something to the story, but avoid sending big files that will clog up people’s inboxes.

And finally… aim high, but be realistic in your expectations of your DIY PR. Most journalists are swamped with press releases, so it may take a few attempts and a bit of hounding to land press release coverage for your business. Don’t give up though; determination and a willingness to learn can take you a very long way!


If you’d like some more tips on how to go about doing your own DIY PR, click here to contact us, and we’ll give you a call as soon as we can!

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