A press release is a news story written in the third person by any organization, entity, or by individuals that seek to demonstrate to an editor or reporter the newsworthiness of a particular event, service, person, or product.
Writing a press release may seem daunting, but by following simply grammar and spelling rules, as well as some easy-to-learn guidelines, and your press releases will grab a reporter’s attention and curiosity to want to learn more about your announcement.
- A Great Headline: The start of a press release, like any magazine article, book, and promotional pamphlet, is the most important start. This is usually a single line of text that tells readers what the press release is about. It can be an effective tool to grab the attention of journalists, so constructing a press release from a journalist’s perspective is essential.
- Start by Getting to the Point: Reporters and editors are busy people, so it is safe to assume that they will only read the first sentence and scan the rest. Unfortunately, that is being generous. Get to the message quickly, and every important point should be addressed in the opening sentences. Every paragraph after should support the information.
- Informative: Going along with a great headline, being informative is essential to keeping a reader’s attention. “I want to be a trusted resource for media so I’m trying to give the journalists the information when they need it so they don’t have to go anywhere else,” said Gillian Pommerehn of Crosby Marketing. Answering who, what, when, where, why, and how will assist readers in understanding your release.
- Grammatically Flawless: While it was stated above, it merits repeating. Too many press releases suffer from spelling mistakes or bad grammar. Let others proofread your release before sending it out.
- Hard Numbers: Pack your press release with hard numbers that support the significance of your announcement. If you claim a trend, it needs to be backed up. Reporters will not be expected to submit a story without proper evidence.
- Include Quotes: There is no source more concrete than a direct quote. Quotes cannot be replicated, so a good quote from a spokesperson or company official give irreplaceable weight to your press release.
- Contact Information: Either as a header – preferably – or a footer, contact information must be included. Without including this information, you can render your press release ineffectual. Include a name, phone number, email address. Do not forget to add “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”
- Length: One page is preferable, but two pages can work depending on the content. Generally, the shorter, the better; this forces the writer to include only the most salient information. Once the essential information is listed, all of the general pieces of information should be covered. If a reporter has additional questions, that is what the contact information is for.
After all of this, make certain to end your press release with ###, which is standard in journalism. Following these easy tips should make your press release far more eye-catching.