Do you have a story that you want to share with the world? Are you considering writing a press release? After having written several press releases myself, here are 4 things I think you need to know about how to write a press release.
1. What is a press release?
A press release is a short but compelling news story that is sent to journalists and publications.
2. What is the purpose of a press release?
When you write a press release, your aim is to pique the interests of a journalist or publication so that they would consider publishing your news story.
3. What should a press release contain?
A press release should tell the person reading it everything that they need to know about your news story. It should have the: who, what, where, when, how, and most importantly why of your news, as this helps journalists to easily produce their own story.
Most journalists do not simply re-write your press release, they take it as the starting point for a story. Depending on what your news story is, it may very well be one-sided or biased and the journalist may need further sources to help them produce balanced accurate news.
The headline, in my opinion, is arguably the most important four or five words in the whole press release. It is what a journalist reads first. If it’s not attention-grabbing, newsworthy and unique, it is very likely that the journalist will not read the press release any further.
Immediately after the headline usually comes a brief, one or two-sentence summary of the press release. Just like the headline, the summary should draw the reader in quickly and spur them on to read the rest of the news story.
Since a press release is meant to look and feel like a story in a newspaper, it is important to include a location and date stamp at the beginning of the first paragraph. Something like, “London, United Kingdom – July 29, 2021.”
Also like a standard news story, the first sentence, or lede, should summarize the main news of the press release in 25 words or less.
The rest of the body of the press release should answer all the questions a journalist might have about your news – the product, service or event that you’re announcing.
Now, whilst your press release is a public relations tool, it should not be overly promotional. If it sounds too much like a sales pitch, there’s a strong possibility that it will lose credibility in the eyes of the journalist.
Press releases typically end with a short description of the company or organisation that’s issuing the release, along with a call to action. The call to action could be to participate in the event being promoted, to take a test drive of the product, or simply to find out more by contacting the author of the press release.
4. What are best practices when writing a press release?
As much as possible, avoid using jargon, technical language or acronyms people outside of your organisation may not know. It is important that you ask yourself the question “does this make sense to someone who knows nothing about the back story?”
Once you know what to include in a press release, writing a press release is pretty straightforward to do. I hope you have found this introduction to how to write a press release useful and can now write your own press release.
If you would like to see a sample press release, please click here to see one of my press releases.
If you still need help in writing your press release, please click here to book my press release writing service.
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