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How To Write A Better Press Release
A press release is the most effective way to generate free publicity for your business or organization. A well-written press releases can generate mountains of coverage and, most of the time, that coverage will be more in-depth than any ad. Writing press releases are tricky; since theyre targeted mostly to journalists, the focus, style and tone is different from the typical business document. The following tips will help you craft a clear, creative press release.
Like any news story or announcement, a press release must be spun -- that is, it must have a particular angle interesting to journalists and, subsequently, to readers. Sure, the opening of a new office might mean big things for your company, but its of little interest to the rest of the community if you dont tell them why they should care. Consider the following elements of a good press release and incorporate them into your work:
Relevance: This is the most basic concern you need to address; how is your news relevant to the publications demographic? Are you providing jobs or new services? Is a prominent community figure involved? Does it relate somehow to a recent hot topic? Always know your releases relevance before writing.
Timeliness: A journalist will rarely pay attention to a release if it isnt timely. Does your release relate specifically to a holiday or event? Did it happen recently or will it be happening soon?
Distinctiveness: What makes your news unique? Is it something interesting, or different, enough that people outside your company or organization would want to read about it? Would you?
Lack of Competition: Think carefully about other news or events taking place at the time of your release. Are you competing with holiday news when your release isnt at all holiday related? Will publications have bigger stories with which to concern themselves? If so, hold off on releasing your story until theres a bigger gap in the news cycle.
How you write your press release is equally as important as the information you choose (or choose not) to include. Follow these steps when writing your press release, and keep them in mind as you create a personal template for future releases.
Release Date: This should be the first thing under your letterhead. Include the exact date if the material is restricted to a specific time, or use the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE if time isnt a factor.
Headline: A strong headline will draw attention to your release, much like a strong headline draws attention to any news story. This should be one line only, in all caps and indicative of your releases exact point.
Lead Paragraph: In three sentences or less, immediately summarize your story. This paragraph is often called a nut graf in the newspaper business -- it tells the story in a nutshell.
Body Paragraph(s): The remaining paragraphs elaborate on your story and often include quotes from prominent people within the company or in your community. Keep the writing short and snappy, using familiar words and eliminating any clichés or redundancies. Remember: youre essentially writing for journalists, so use a style similar to that of the publication youre approaching. This should be no more than two paragraphs, which keeps your entire release to one double-spaced page.
End: A closing paragraph or summary (like the kind found in letters or reports) isnt necessary for a release; remember, this is similar to a news story. End with either ###, -end- or -30-.