The Fine Art of Press Release Writing

By Amanda Bala

Looking for a good way to get free publicity for your business? How about writing a Press Release?  This is one of the best ways to get your company exposure without paying a cent.  In this two part series, we will explore 1) press release writing and 2) the best way to distribute a press release. So, get ready to write your first stellar press release!

Press release writing is a very different style of writing than blogging, articles, or really anything. There are key components that you must have in your press release, not only to get it published, but to ensure that the people you distribute it to actually read it.

The Style: Most forms of writing are descriptive, or have a personality. This is not true of press release writing. Instead it should be clear, concise and factual. Reporters, Editors, Journalists, etc. do not want to waste their time reading fluff. They want the guts of the story… and they want it quickly.

The Headline:  This is the most important part of your press release.  In this one sentence, you must state exactly what the press release is about as well as command the attention of your audience.  The headline must be clear and to the point.  It is not artsy, not cutesy.  It grabs your readers’ attention and tells them why they must keep reading.

Sub headline: Although a sub headline is not always necessary, it can be helpful. This is the sentence where you can elaborate on your headline. The people that are going to be deciding whether or not to publish your news are not going to spend a lot of time on reading the release unless they are interested from the beginning. You have a very small window in which to catch their attention. This sentence can help you do that.

First Paragraph:  Start this paragraph off with the date and the city that the release is originated. The first sentence must enforce the headline. Then the next 1 or 2 sentences can elaborate. All the pertinent details must be in the first paragraph or at least bulleted under it. You want this to be concise and to the point. No creative adjectives or fluff. This paragraph does not need to be long. In fact, the shorter, the better (2-3 sentences).

Press Release Body: The rest of the press release should elaborate and reinforce the first paragraph. Only write the facts, do not use creative language, and don’t lace it with industry jargon that no one understands. Another beneficial addition to your release is a quote from the CEO or other important person that will give credibility. For example, if you are writing a press release about a charity fundraiser, getting a quote from the head of the charity would be helpful.

Boilerplate:  This is technically the “About Us” portion of the release. It should include all the relevant information about your company such as the mission, address, phone number, and website.  Again, this is all fact and no fluff. It is short and strictly informational so the reader can know your organizations pertinent information without having to call you or search for it online. This boilerplate should be included on every press release you write and identical on each one. 

Now that you are aware of the finer points of press release writing, join us next week for our article: Distributing Your Press Release:  What You Need to Know.

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