A press release is a written statement that is given to the media. Press releases can announce a variety of items such as new products and services, sales accomplishments, scheduled events, awards and so on. One can also use press releases to create a trending story. News reporters will look at a story idea more keenly once they receive a press release first. Press releases are a fundamental tool of public relations work and anyone willing to use the proper format can use it. In the next few sections we look at how to write a press release.
1. Write a Compelling Headline
The headline should be clear and to the point. It should be a very short summary of the key point of the press release. Many professionals recommend that one should write the headline once they are done with the rest of the press release. When following that format, one can always come back to this step once they are finished writing the press release. The headline can be obtained after reading through the final press release and making a condensed summary of the whole thing. There are some general guidelines which should be followed when writing the headline.
- The headline should be written in bold. Typical headlines on press releases use the present tense. They also lack articles “a” and “the”. In some situations, forms of the verb “to be” are excluded.
- The first word should be capitalized.
The easiest way in which to create a press release headline is to obtain the most important keywords from the press release. Using these keywords, one should try to form a statement that is logical and attracts attention. The use of keywords increases visibility in search engines hence increasing the chances of readers and journalists finding it.
2. Write the Body Copy
One should write a press release as they would want it to appear in a news story. Since journalists are very busy, they will have no time to research the big announcement by the company. Therefore, they will use the press release in their writeup. There are some tips to keep in mind when writing the body copy.
- Always begin with the city from which the press release comes from and the date.
- The initial sentence should catch the attention of the reader and explain what exactly is happen. The following sentences should then give more information onto the initial sentence.
- The body of the press release should be small and neat. One should always avoid long sentences, repetition, and using fancy words too much. There should be no word wasted in the body of the press release.
- The initial paragraph should summarize the press release and any additional paragraphs must explain it. It is advisable to generate interest in the first paragraph as it is the only one most journalists will read in order to decide whether it is good or not.
- One should deal with actual events, services, products, people, plans and projects. One should also maximize on the usage of solid facts. A typical method for creating a good press release is to ask the five W’s and the H.
3. Communicate the 5 W’s and the H clearly
The answer to the questions what, when, where, why, who and how should inform the reader of the press release all the details that they need to know. Having the basic details clear, one should then add information about the places, products and other things that are relevant to the news. If ones organization or business is the origin of the press release but does not make up the main topic in the press release, it is important to clarify it in the body. It is also important to remember to keep the press release short and to the point. The maximum length of a press release should not exceed three pages with the text double-spaced for a hard copy.
4. Include Company Information
When a press release has been picked for a story in the media, the journalist has to mention the name of the company in the article. The journalist can therefor get information about the company from this section. The title should be “About Company”.
Immediately after the title, one can use a couple of paragraphs to describe the company, its main functions and its business policy.
At the end of the company information section, it is good to include the company website. This should be the complete link and not an embedded link just in case it is printed.
5. Wrap it up
One should provide extra links that add support and credibility to the press release.
6. Add Contact Details
In case the press release is interesting enough to catch the attention of journalists, they will always need more information or even conduct interviews with the people who are associated with the press release. One should follow the following guidelines when including contact details.
- If one is okay with letting people associated with the press release to be contacted by the media, they can provide their contacts on the page of the press release itself.
- Otherwise, avail details of ones public relations department in the contact details section. If there is no dedicated department for this at the moment, someone should be appointed in order to be the go-between the media and ones company.
- It is important to note however that contact details are limited to the press release at hand. Details to be included in the contacts section are:
a) The official name of the company
b) Office address
c) Official name and contact person for the public relations department
d) Fax and telephone numbers
e) Web address
f) Email address
g) Timing and availability
7. Link to an Online Version of the Press Release
It is always advisable to have a backup of all press releases on ones own website. This is a good method of keeping records and it also makes linking people to the press release easier.
8. Journalistic Standards
It is a tradition to end the press release with three # symbols underneath the last line of the press release which are aligned center. This makes it an official journalistic document and affirms its validity.
Start Writing Your Press Release
So now that you know how to write a press release, there’s no better time than now to get going and start promoting your business.