What to Consider Before Hiring Press Release Writers
Small businesses, start-ups, and the self-employed don’t have the same media access as big corporations do — but they have just as much need for traditional publicity tools. Today, press release writers are some of the most sought-after media contractors in the business landscape.
An attention-getting press release can generate immediate interest in a company. Most small business owners know this. Still, they may struggle to craft a compelling story themselves.
That’s when a professional writer can step in. Press release writers have an objective viewpoint of the businesses they work with, and that independence can be valuable for small business owners dealing with multiple needs at once.
What Do Press Release Writers Do?
Most press release writers have experience with many media outlets — even the biggest ones. They’re tuned in to the captivating narratives media partners look for, and they know all the elements that belong in an effective press release and where to place them.
That said, press release writers vary. Many writers focus on certain industries, such as tech, entertainment, or local services. Some have worked with the same media outlets and clientele for decades. Others are more aligned with emerging digital media and newer industries.
Before hiring a press release writer, ask yourself the following questions.
What Do They Know?
Press releases have very specific guidelines. The typical press release is very short — usually between 300 and 400 words — so the writer doesn’t have a lot of room to elaborate on the topic. A qualified press release writer must be comfortable working within these guidelines.
The writer should also have a high level of expertise in the fields they cover. Some may have the ability to learn quickly about new topics, making them more flexible. Others may be long-entrenched in a specific industry and are considered reliable experts in their field.
Determine how much experience your candidate has, both with public relations in general and the specific field you work in. Be wary of writers with spotty or limited track records in press releases.
How Do They Do It?
Even if they’re well-versed in your industry and understand what you want, a professional press release writer doesn’t put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) right away. Before they’ve written a word, they need to immerse themselves in learning.
This means research. Solid writers have perfected their research techniques. For example, they’ll incorporate industry trends and highlight how your company relates to them. Their research should also include external industry news, history, and other factors that might shed light on your company.
Writers also need to be highly organized with their work. Given the short length of a press release, they must know what information to include and what to leave out. They have to be rigorous self-editors and thoughtful planners.
A good candidate will be open about their research tools, writing habits, organizational process, and professional expertise. Ask them about their writing process, along with questions that go beyond the creative brief.
What Do They Say?
With the small canvas that they have to work with, press release writers need a firm grasp of the elements of storytelling. No matter how short or limited the final story may be, media reps won’t spend time on bland writing, wandering focus, or unengaging stories.
A great press release writer can raise immediate interest in a subject that readers have never thought about before. Their portfolio should be full of projects that have successfully raised their clients’ profiles. They should also have clear, accessible stories that jump out.
Not only does a press release writer need to be a good storyteller, but they must also know how to make you look good. That means they have to understand your motives and philosophy at an internal level. A good press release writer will comfortably converse with you and ask the right questions about your work.
Ask your candidates for samples of their past work. This is especially important if they have dedicated experience in your particular industry — how have they helped people like you get the publicity they deserved? And what do their clients say about their experience?
Write Collective: Your Press Release Resource
If you’re looking for seasoned press release writers, Write Collective can help. Our experienced writing team delivers well-constructed, informative work that grabs readers’ attention. Order a one-time press release today, or explore our comprehensive content packages.