How to Write a Press Release
Creating a press release – format, writing and submission tips.
“What is a press release?
In terms of marketing, it’s basically just a story that may interest the general public or a market segment relating to your business or organization. The format is a cross between an article and an ad – very similar to the ‘adarticle’. A press release tends to be more objective than promotional copy and is often in interview format. The usual marketing hype is definitely a no-go zone.
A press release is submitted to media distribution outlets in the hope that they will run with the story or request an interview.
What are the benefits?
As news is all about currency; the chances are that your press release will be published very quickly if it appeals. After submission, expect some initial results within 24 hours.
Most services archive releases; so it’s an ongoing form of promotion. Search engines may pick up on the release when it is published on other sites. This creates another avenue for people to find you and to possibly improve your search engine rankings through link popularity factors.
Journalists love search engines; so even as your release becomes dated, you may be still contacted by them in relation to other stories they are working on.
If a respected media outlet or industry authority picks up your news item and publishes it, the readers of that service will immediately feel that your company is credible – an element vital in turning leads into clients.
Extra content for your site:
Any release that you create can also be included in a separate section on your site. It creates a good impression on your visitors and clients, provides ready information for journalists who may stumble upon your site and acts as excellent search engine fodder.
What’s considered newsworthy?
Well, it’s definitely not just telling everyone how great you and your products are.
Items that would be considered newsworthy include:
Your business sponsoring a charity event.
Implementing/developing a new product that addresses a specific need.
Merging or partnering with another well known business
Gaining a contract with a large company.
Results of research you’ve carried out
Awards and industry/community recognition
Format and content
The format and pitch of a news release is vastly different to traditional promotional copy. Terms such as “visit us today”, “buy me now” or “discount prices” will see your press release headed straight for the recycle bin, as will WORDS IN CAPITALS and the unnecessary use of exclamation marks.
The best way to learn the format you should aim for release is to watch your local news or read a paper where a company is being mentioned in a positive way.
After reading/watching/listening to this kind of coverage for a while, you’ll notice similarities.
Especially effective items you should include in a press release:
Quotes from a company representative – interview style is very effective.
Statistics – people love stats!
Information relating to how, what, when, where and why.
Press release format
The format of a press release is quite straightforward:
Include in a few words directives as to when the information can be released e.g. “For immediate release” or “for release on October 30, 2010″
Short, attention grabbing line. Do not use exclamation marks, marketing hype or references to selling.
An extension of the headline and consolidation of the body. Just a couple of sentences outlining the major points.
Always start the first sentence in the following format:
City, State (or country), Month, Day, Year –
..then launch into the story itself. Ensure that the date you use is current when submitting. Media outlets won’t want what would appear to be old news. Keep your sentences short and use paragraphs every 5-6 lines if possible. The body should not exceed 500 words.
Where readers of the press release can gain further details e.g. your web site.
Include a sentence about your company.
This is usually for the use of the company whom you are submitting to. Include:
Remember to skip a line between sections and save in a generic format, such as a plain text file.