Writing a Press Release

A press release, also known as a news release or a media release, is typically a written communication distributed to media outlets providing information about a particular newsworthy matter. Releases also come in various non-traditional forms: social media, video, and infographics. A survey of 100 journalists revealed they receive roughly 50 releases each week. With so many press releases landing on any given journalist’s desk, a press release must be tailored to stand out from the noise of other releases.

Writing the Perfect Press Release

There are several common elements of an eye-catching, detailed press release:

Headline

Your headline is what journalists and bloggers will read first, which makes it one of the most crucial aspects of your press release. A headline, which should be engaging and accurate, is the perfect opportunity to grab the reader’s attention. Appealing to and resonating with your audience’s emotions will likely keep the audience reading. A subtitle would be helpful in providing additional information, it’s certainly not necessary.

Keep your headline short, around 50-60 words, but attention-grabbing.

Dateline

A dateline is self-explanatory. It includes the release date and city of origin.

A press release can include a date listed after its actual release date. If this is the case, the press release serves as a news embargo or press embargo. While there is a general understanding that a news story will not be published until the predetermined time, journalists aren’t required to honor the dateline.

Introduction

The introduction outlines the who, what, where, when, why, and how. The first sentence, known as the lede, should summarize your main point in no more than 25 words. This opening paragraph should be a succinct summary as the following paragraphs will elaborate on these elements.

Body

All facts and figures pertaining to your subject matter are located within the body of your press release. This section is purely informational, but should have a conservational tone (and shouldn’t sound like a sales pitch). Avoid using industry jargon. Use language that your audience will understand. Include a call to action.

Use quotes! Try to use a couple of quotes, one from a company representative and one from a customer, to make the release more credible. Don’t forget to attribute the quote, so readers can identify the source.

Words can be a little boring. Including a picture, infographic or video is more appealing than text alone. Multimedia will help spark interest and will increase the chances of your news being covered.

Boilerplate

Think of the boilerplate as an “about us” section. This section, limited to 1 paragraph, generally contains your company or organization’s background information: purpose, location, size, mission, vision, etc.

Close

Your audience needs to know where the press release ends. Three consecutive hashtags, -###-, is used to denote the reader’s stopping point.

Contact Information

If a journalist wants to follow up with the author, they need the correct contact information. Typically, a press release includes a name, phone number, and email address. Sometimes, the author includes social media handles. This information is usually listed at the very top of the release.

Keep your release between 400 and 600 words, which is about 1-page if you use a 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Depending on your newsworthy event, your press release may be more or fewer words. White space is strongly encouraged. You can easily stay within the word count guidelines by sticking to the necessary details only.

Need a press release? Order here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *