How To Write a Press Release – 5 Things You Need to Know

July 7, 2011

in Copywriting

1. Make it News Worthy

A press release should do exactly what it says on the tin. It should be a release for the press. The very nature of a press release is something newsworthy. It is most definitely not an article or an essay. So, before you start tapping away, create a newsworthy angle that people will want to hear about, and that journalists will want to report on.

2. Create a Title That Jumps Off The Page

An eye-catching title is often the deciding factor in whether or not a press release gets read. Create a compelling, concise title under eight words long. Don’t be afraid to sensationalise a little or walk the line of controversy. Pull the reader in with alluring words pertaining to the subject matter of your news story.

3. Follow The Standard Structure

The majority of press releases follow the same structure that has been used for decades in the news industry. That said, many companies have their own individual creative take on the standard template, and may deviate from the track slightly. To make sure you stay within the guidelines and achieve maximum exposure, follow this template:

  • Headline
  • Sub headline (optional)
  • Lead paragraph – announcing the news
  • Middle section – body of the press release
  • End section – Supporting information
  • Tail – Underlying background information

4. Length and Impact

Keep your press release under 500 words. If you can’t say what you need to say within this limit then you are saying too much. In fact, 400 words is the personal preference of many professional press release writers. Most journalists, news agencies and media companies just don’t have the time to read wordy PRs, or any other type of literature for that matter. The people you need to read your PR want to be able to know exactly what your news is, why it is important, and who you are within a matter of 30 seconds. Any longer and you will be ignored. The core concept of a PR is “a method of presenting the facts of a story in a highly digestible format”.

5. Adopting a Neutral Tone

You aren’t selling trying to sell a product or service.  You are announcing a piece of news. Therefore the tone should be non-biased and remain neutral throughout. That doesn’t mean you can’t be positive or create excitement or a heavy impact, but what it does mean is that you shouldn’t approach writing a PR like a sales letter. This isn’t an easy thing to achieve when you are so passionate about your company, product or service, which is why people often choose to employ a professional press release writer.

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