Articles by: Hannah Kusper
Learning to write an effective press release is an essential skill for public relations practitioners, whether you’re writing for your clients or your own company. This task may be daunting at first, but with a strategic set of guidelines your press release will stand out among the competition.
8 Steps to Writing an Effective Press Release
1. Write From a Newsworthy Angle
You may not have the option to choose the topic you write about. But you do have the option to select the most newsworthy angle for your press release. Before you begin writing, ask yourself if there is anything new, unusual or interesting that would pique the interest of your target audience.
2. Know Your Audience
Research your audience to better understand what interests them and how you could personalize the story to make it relevant. You may want to create slightly different versions of your press release that speak to various types of readers and/or outlets. For example, you may not have the same call-to-action for a media release that you do for one targeted to nonprofits. Keep the general story the same but use personalization to reach your readers.
3. Lead With a Catchy Headline
The human attention span is only eight seconds, meaning it is vital to catch and keep your reader’s attention at first glance. Your headline gives readers a snapshot of what your press release will include and elicits immediate emotions. When writing your headline, think of what phrases will intrigue your audience to captivate their attention and motivate them to act on your call to action.
4. Get to the Point
Journalists, news publications and media outlets are constantly inundated with press releases. Unless the first sentence of your release grabs their attention, they probably won’t finish reading it. Treat your opening paragraph as a news story lead written in an active voice that summarizes the most important aspects — who, what, when, where, why and how. This gives your readers the most important information upfront in a clear, concise manner.
5. Incorporate Quotes to Provide Insight
Use quotes when writing your press release to provide personal insight rather than additional information. When quotes are used correctly, they evoke imagery, inspire action, and provide a glimpse into an organization’s personality. Make sure the quotes are appropriate and provide purpose. Keep in mind that quotes usually fit best toward the end of a release.
6. Include a Clear Call-to-Action & Contact Information
A call-to-action is vital for your press release as it gives readers a clear set of next steps. Make sure your release includes your agency’s or client’s contact information and the suggested next steps. For example, link to your website, online pressroom, a landing page, or your fundraising site to increase traffic from your target audience.
7. Check Your Grammar
Grammar mistakes in your press release can be detrimental to your story and brand. After you complete the first draft of your press release, have a colleague check for any grammar, punctuation or spelling errors. Another good tactic is to print out your press release for review. If you have any questions along the way, be sure to reference the Associated Press Stylebook — an essential tool for PR practitioners.
8. Follow up With Key Contacts
Reach out to key contacts you think would be most likely to share or engage with your content. Send the release to them personally along with a note about why you think they would be interested in your release. A personal email goes a long way when it comes to reaching out to key media influencers and organizations.
To get the best results from press releases, follow this clear and actionable checklist and share it with your team. For more PR tips, read Lorraine Schuchart’s top five PR lessons learned while running Prosper for Purpose.
CLEVELAND (January 19, 2018) — Prosper for Purpose, a Cleveland-based purpose-driven public relations agency and Certified B Corp, has announced the promotion of Jenny Kelley to president and COO.
Kelley merged her company, Kelley Green Web, with Prosper for Purpose in 2015 and became vice president and COO. As a passionate leader for positive change, she has been a key component of the company’s growth and award-winning achievements.
Since the start of her employment at Prosper, Kelley has been committed to furthering the company’s mission — executing socially, environmentally and economically sustainable solutions for organizations that are a force for good. She has played a vital role in the firm’s day-to-day operations in addition to keeping the team on track with client service, collaborating with the CEO on business development, as well as directing strategy and creative for Prosper and clients alike.
Kelley is a vital asset to Lorraine Schuchart, founder and CEO of Prosper for Purpose, helping establish a solid foundation and continuing to build the agency’s success. Prosper was named “PR Team of the Year” at the PRSA 15th Annual Cleveland Rocks Awards in 2017.
“Jenny has been my right hand since she joined Prosper three years ago. She exemplifies all the qualities I could want in a president — wisdom, integrity and passion for Prosper’s mission. Jenny has been key to much of Prosper’s recent success and her promotion to president both acknowledges her past contributions and provides opportunity for even greater success,” said Schuchart.
Kelley’s passion for and commitment to both Prosper and public relations is evident: “I have loved being part of Team Prosper since our merger three years ago. Now in its sixth year, Prosper is well poised for growth. I’m incredibly honored and excited to have a more integral role in cultivating the firm as well as the relationship with our clients, our team and our partners.”
About Prosper for Purpose
Prosper for Purpose is a public relations firm that helps purpose-driven organizations maximize their impact by building mutually beneficial relationships with their publics. The agency develops brands and optimizes relationships for growth and positive social impact. Prosper for Purpose is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, meeting the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
For more information, visit www.prosperforpurpose.com.
Amanda Gorman, the first U.S. youth poet laureate, opened the 2017 Social Good Summit with a powerful poem that included an inspiring message: “Here, in this great gathering, we do good so that the world might be great.”
Her quote perfectly sums up the mission of the Social Good Summit, an annual event held in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly week. The summit brings global and community leaders together to create innovative solutions to world problems. Passionate activists foster vital conversations to unlock fresh ideas on how to combine new media and technology to improve the lives of people around the world.
I had the opportunity to attend the Summit this year and hear world leaders discuss the progress being made to solve pressing issues, including global warming, education, refugees, violence and healthcare. Global citizens and activists focused conversations on the advancements needed to make the world a better place by 2030. Being a social activist, I was excited to engage in such powerful conversations with passionate individuals who are making a large scale impact.
One of the most inspirational speeches I heard was from two volunteers of the Syrian White Helmets, Khaled Khatib and Mounir Mustafa. The White Helmets consists of nearly 3,000 volunteers, both men, and women, who risk their lives every day to save citizens affected by barrel bombs in the war-torn nation of Syria. The organization has lost 200 volunteers since 2013 amid rescue attempts but has saved nearly 99,000 Syrian civilians. The White Helmets released an Oscar-winning documentary on Netflix last year, which provides an inside look at the devastating reality of Syria. You can watch the moving trailer for the film on YouTube.
I also had the opportunity to meet Yulu PR Founder Melissa Orozco, who Team Prosper has been working with to promote Impact Relations, the newest sector of PR based on sharing stories to help organizations create positive social or environmental impact.
Overall, the Social Good Summit ignited a passion inside everyone who attended to follow the Global Goals to make #2030NOW. Now is the time for organizations and activists to create purpose-driven dialogue to solve international problems. Feeling inspired? Check out the recorded conversations from this year’s Summit to learn more about joining the world together.
Summer is officially in full swing and there’s no better time of the year to clean out your closet, basement or extra storage spaces to organize your home. Donating your gently used clothing, food, toys, and other supplies is a sustainable way to get rid of extra items without throwing them away. However, donating the right items to places where people in need will actually receive them is vital. Below is a list of ways you can make a difference when it comes to donating your items.
- Research before you donate to make sure your items will go to people in need. Check out this list of where to donate everything in your home from A-Z.
- Separate toiletry items from food items to avoid the food tasting like soap or other strongly scented products.
- Wash your clothes before donating them for a better chance that they will actually be worn. Also, be considerate of what you are donating by making sure the clothing is in decent shape.
- Find a suitable drop-off location for your donations. Some good options are Goodwill, Salvation Army, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Dress for Success, The City Mission, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, homeless shelters and churches.
- Take the time to have a conversation with the people you are donating to if you meet them. Just taking the time to hear their story will make a big difference in both of your lives.
- Forget to ask what is needed before you give, especially when it comes to donating food. Choose non-damaged packaging, non-expired food and nutritious options to give.
- Include soap, shampoo and conditioner when donating to the homeless. Switch out those items for baby wipes instead.
- Send snacks such as sticky and sweet breakfast bars since the receiver may not have access to dental care. Instead, donate snacks such as applesauce, pudding cups, trail mix and beef jerky.
- Donate to clothing bins found in gas station or store parking lots. Often times, these boxes are a scam as donations are often resold for profit instead of reaching the right people.
- Think of donating as a one-time deal. Continue to donate your gently used items by putting reminders on your calendar to keep you on track.
Donating is a great way to get rid of extra items in your house without feeling the guilt of throwing them away. Many people are in need of food, clothing and toys so it is important your donations actually reach them.
The Prosper for Purpose team became intrigued by local entrepreneur Andrew Bennett after learning how he set out to address the gap between individuals and experts with the knowledge they needed. So, Margot and Hannah sat down with Andrew to hear how this passionate young entrepreneur followed his vision to connect people and, ultimately, spread knowledge.
“I wanted to start something that every single person in any organization could be attracted to in order to gain new skills and expertise,” the co-creator of KnowledgePost told Team Prosper earlier last month.
Andrew started KnowledgePost in 2014 after realizing “there was a major disconnect between those in need of professional expertise and those who can provide it.” On KnowledgePost, users match with experts who offer services such as career coaching, consulting and mentoring, to name a few.
Andrew is a firm believer that everyone has a specific skillset that can increase others’ understanding. KnowlegePost opens the door to learning opportunities by connecting professionals and companies who will make a direct impact by sharing expertise with each other.
He loves being able to make a difference in so many lives by linking people with those who offer the services they need. Before he started KnowledgePost, Andrew was involved in Engage Cleveland where he saw nearly ten thousand young professionals in Cleveland with missed opportunities to enhance their futures.
Even though Andrew is an independent entrepreneur, his main advice for recent graduates and young professionals is to surround yourself with mentors from different disciplines. He reiterated how imperative it is to follow your true passion, as he did — the rest will fall into place. Andrew sees KnowledgePost becoming a tool that users can engage with to build strategic partnerships and relationships.
Andrew is from Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Elon University in 2008 with a degree in marketing. He has an older brother and older sister. In his free time, Andrew enjoys traveling with his girlfriend Nora.
You can get started with KnowledgePost today — connect with the experts and opportunities you’re seeking.
My passion for purpose began the day I met one of the Lost Boys of Sudan – Majier Mamer Deng, otherwise known as Nico. I met him nearly ten years ago through Cuyahoga Valley Church as he was sharing his heartbreaking yet inspiring story of surviving the Second Sudanese Civil War that broke out in the 1980s.
During the war, the Sudanese government turned against Sudanese villagers, displacing thousands of boys and girls. At the time, Nico was just nine years old and was forced to walk hundreds of miles in the scorching heat facing dehydration, starvation, wild animals, and an armed militia.
Thousands of young boys lost their lives on what felt like never-ending walks to different refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. When the children finally made it to the camps, they stayed there for years living off small rations. Nico desired to become educated and stop civil wars from happening in his country. He was chosen by the United Nations Refugee Agency to be resettled in America during the early 2000s to gain a higher education. He achieved his goal and touched thousands of people with his unforgettable story along the way.
After meeting Nico, he quickly became a member of my family as we did anything we could to share his story and change the lives of others. My family fundraised for Nico to see his mother in Sudan after 21 years of being separated. We helped speak to schools across Northeast Ohio to share his story. We even took him on his first-ever vacation at the age of 30. He changed my perspective on life and inspired me to always share motivational stories that had the potential to change people’s lives forever. I didn’t even know it at the time, but I was falling in love with public relations and storytelling at a young age thanks to the time I spent with Nico.
From my experience with the Lost Boys of Sudan, I knew I wanted to combine my passions of storytelling and philanthropy into a career. I spent an incredible four years studying strategic communication, marketing and social media at Ohio University. Now, I am actually living my dream of working to make a difference. Thanks to my internship at Prosper for Purpose I’m helping some amazing organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and 1% for the Planet.
My story has come full circle and I am beyond excited to see what is in store for me at Prosper this summer!