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How to write a Research Press Release?

how-to-write-a-research-press-release

Innovative technologies improve the general quality of life and processes in the modern world of unprecedented scientific research and progress. However, it is a challenge for scientists to reach the public effectively through traditional communication. The problem can be pointed at a lack of awareness of scientific invention and discoveries to the general public: the solution — research press releases. Innovative technologies improve the general quality of life and processes in the modern world of unprecedented scientific research and progress.

By distributing press releases aimed at research, scientists can target specific demographic groups and get the word across more effectively. Research press releases are the ideal marketing tool because, with the help of modern digital marketing strategies, news can be promoted digitally on subject-specific websites and research databases as well as on traditional media. 

Although press releases generally target the press, well-planned press release campaigns can do much more. With the help of appropriate distribution solutions and through the proper channels, the message of a press release can reach decision-makers, other scientists, mediators, and the general public.  

Introduction to Research Press Release

introduction-to-research-press-release

So, what exactly is a research press release? Usually, the results of scientific research themselves make the content of a research press release. The press release is used to convey what the research is aimed at, what problem it solves or needs it fulfills, and what progress has been made through the research efforts. It is always essential to tailor the content and style of the press release to make it more suitable for the target groups.

Why should scientists consider distributing press releases to communicate their research? There are several benefits, some of which are mentioned below:

  • It highlights the results of the research,
  • It highlights the efforts of an institution,
  • It ensures that their work reaches their desired audience,
  • It acknowledges sponsors,
  • It benefits the general scientific community and industries.

How do you write a Research Press Release?

how-do-you-write-a-research-press-release

Since a single press release will reach various audiences with different levels of expertise and interest in the research itself, it is best to write a research press release that can adequately tackle the desired audience. Therefore, writing a press release that catches and maintains journalists’ and the general public’s attention will go a long way. So, while writing a press release for scientific communication, it is best to keep the following in mind:

How should you structure your press release?

how-should-your-structure-your-press-release

Press releases conform to rules dissimilar to scholarly articles; they should not be structured with an introduction at the beginning, and methods, discussion, results, and conclusion to follow. Instead, when writing a press release, the following is the structure you follow:

  • Company Logo: Before anything, it is essential to include your company’s logo so that your brand seems more prominent. This will familiarize your readers with your company. 
  • Title: The title of a press release is better phrased with a catchy and active voice rather than the jargon-filled title of a scholarly article.
  • Release Date: Is your research press release showing the latest results? Make this known to your readers so that journalists can pick up your news story as something recent. If you want to publish your press release sooner, it might be a good idea to mention “For immediate release” or the date and time you want to publish your press release, i.e. “Release on [date] and [time].” If you choose to use a press release distribution service, you can easily schedule your press release accordingly.
  • Visuals: Eye-catching images and videos in the press release will maintain the readers’ attention.
  • Subheadings: These are also called “the deck” and help to maintain a sense of formatting and flow to your press release. Subheadings will help your reader skim through your press release content easily and find the information they’re seeking.
  • Dateline: Not to be confused with the general release date, the dateline is included at the beginning of the first body paragraph. It consists of the date and location (written in capital letters) of the press release. The first paragraph’s text is separated from the dateline a dash. 
  • First Paragraph: The text of your press release should start with the results and conclusion of your scholarly work. Journalists and the general public are not as interested in the methodology and workings as they are in the results.
  • Content: The text following the first paragraph should add to the first paragraph. Since the first paragraph contained your results, start elaborating what these results mean in the paragraphs following it. How does your research benefit the community? Why should journalists work on it? If you are able to answer these questions in your text, you’re more than halfway there.
  • Company Information: The audience reading your press release might not know who you are as an institution. Writing a short introduction to your institute, its aims, mission, and other details will help readers familiarize themselves with you more. Also called the “boilerplate,” the company information is usually general and repeatedly used for the multiple press releases a company publishes.  
  • Contact Information: Mention a means of contacting you or your institute for editors that want to work on your press release.

What questions should your press release answer?

what-questions-should-your-press-release-answer

Although different research press releases will naturally convey different messages, all of them should answer the six essential questions: 

  • Who: Who has carried out the research? Who does the research affect?
  • What: What is new about the research? What is it about?
  • Where: Where did the research take place? Where will the impact of the research be most dominant?
  • When: When did the research take place? 
  • Why: Why is the research important? Why should your audience take an interest in it?
  • How: How does the research affect the scientific and general community?

Do scientists write their own Press releases?

When editorial services write a research press release for scientists, the scientists provide all the relevant information and oversee the writing process. Therefore, the editor will need to contact the relevant scientist(s) or institution multiple times before finalizing a press release. Getting your press release written has its benefits:

  • Your press release will be written and formatted according to the best current practices,
  • The writing style will be tailored for a general audience, making it easier to understand,
  • Editors might know press release tactics and practices that you would otherwise miss. 

With that said, scientists do write their own press releases. The fact of the matter is that scientists would know more about their research than anyone else. They know why it matters and why readers and journalists should take an interest in it. This intricate knowledge of the nooks and crannies of the research process and results has the potential to make scientists the best writers/marketers of their research press releases. Surely still, there are a few things that scientists should be aware of before they start writing their first press release.

The good news is that when using press release distribution services, editors help scientists edit press releases to make sure that the content is up to the mark. Scientists might make the mistakes of using complicated jargon, writing in dry, uninteresting tones, lacking an active voice, or incorrectly formatting the press release. 

How to write a Viral Press Release on Academic Research?

how-to-write-a-press-release-on-academic-research

Now to get to the crux of the topic, you are a scientist that wants to write their own press release, and you want to ensure that it goes viral. Before we carry onward, let me say that you are not alone; scientists often write their research press releases. They do so because of the reasons mentioned above; because once a scientist has put all their time, effort, and dedication into a research project, they know what they want to say in the first draft of the press release.

More glad tidings for scientists reading this is that most journalists working on scientific press releases are scientists themselves with varying degrees of expertise in different areas of science. Indeed, it might be possible that the science journalist covering your story might not be an expert in your field, but the fact remains that their general scientific expertise will help them edit your story into a spectacular news article. 

So, how do you write a successful scientific press release? Keep the following tips in mind, and you will be on your way to getting the recognition you deserve:

 

Is Your Story Newsworthy?

The foremost factor in the success of a story is its content. Even if you believe you have an interesting science result, there are still ways to make sure that you present your results go viral. How you can do so is by matching it with one (or more) of the following criteria;

  • Time it right: make sure that your story is newsworthy by checking if it is the latest advancement and something that has just taken place. 
  • Check its relevance: ask yourself, does this news directly or indirectly affect people’s lives? What are the consequences of your research? 
  • Region of impact: where should you focus the distribution of your news story? What region will have the most local appeal?
  • Conflict raises ears: people are interested in controversial topics, and much-debated topics have more of a chance of going viral.
  • Mystery: something otherwise unexplainable would catch the attention of people if explained in your press release. Mysterious phenomena or unexpected results, therefore, get you more traction.
  • World or local records: “This is the first time this disease has been observed,” “This is the largest reptile ever recorded,” and record-worthy stories instantly get successful if they contain substantial evidence and content to support them.
  • Published research: if your research has already been published in a journal, a press release about it will attract more interest from journalists.
  • Others: a new take on old findings, crosslinking with other fields of research, focusing on the implications of your findings, and more will make your research paper stand out.

Once you are sure your story is newsworthy, making it presentable is your next step. Below a checklist to follow;

  • Keep it concise: make sure your content is simple, to the point, and easy to understand.
  • Don’t over-advertise: it’s best not to write anything that can be found in your research institution or business school’s brochure. Sticking to the main story will inevitably mean positive news coverage for you.
  • First impressions: the title is what journalists and readers will notice first. Nailing the title increases your chances.

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you in your journey of writing a quality research press release. Sticking to these guidelines will surely help you in publishing a viral press release. To conclude; godspeed, reader.

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