A press release is a great vehicle to use to send information to designated media. Releases are factual, newsworthy and usually very timely. If you have something to share, a press release can format your information in an easy to understand and logical way.
But first, how do you actually write a release? Here are some tips to follow to make sure your press release stands out.
Think about what your release is trying to say. Your headline should sum up your story in just a few words. Reporters get hundreds upon hundreds of press releases every day. Consider what will grab their attention and make them want to read more. For more help in choosing a title, check out my recent blog post, “Does Your Title Matter?”
Press releases follow an inverted pyramid format with the most important information at the beginning followed by the least important details. In the first two paragraphs, always answer the who, what, where, when, why and how of the story. Be brief. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. Where possible, use action words. Be sure to tout what makes your product or service new and different, that will help capture the media’s attention. But be careful about what words you choose and don’t fall into the pitfall of using words that simply lack impact due to their repeated use. To learn more about the most overused words in press releases, click here.
After your intro paragraph, it is customary to insert a quote. This usually comes from the person in charge of the announcement like the President or CEO of a company. Here is where you can add flair to your writing. Because a quote is just that, you can add in thoughts and opinions here where it wouldn’t be appropriate to elsewhere. This can also be another place to show what makes your announcement standout and why it is important for the general public to know about it.
Your body paragraphs are where you include all of the details and less important information. This is where all of your background data goes. Be sure to include only the important facts and don’t include unnecessary information. Remember, your press release is designed to give an overview of your announcement and peak the media’s interest to do a more in-depth story/interview.
Lastly, you should include a paragraph about your business. This paragraph gives the media a little insight into what your organization is all about. Also include your website and contact information.
Press releases are important and a useful way to disseminate information to the media. Lastly, be sure to proof and check your release for grammatical and spelling errors before sending out. Don’t taint your press release by having a silly error in it that leaves a bad first impression on your media contact!