A press release is the most structured piece of text you’ll write for your small business. Unlike a blog post or copy used for marketing purposes, press releases should be written in a specific industry-standard format, making it easier for your readers to find the information they need.
However, before you start throwing words on a page and becoming a press-release writing machine, a little prep work is required and the following steps will ensure your release ticks all the boxes.
For Immediate Release
Write “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top, left-hand side of your press release, using a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Calibri. Write it in bold type and use uppercase lettering. Your chosen media outlets and readers now know that its news they can use immediately.
If your release shouldn’t be published until a specific date, change the wording to “HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL [DATE].” Use bold and uppercase lettering again.
Write Your Headline
This is where you identify what you want your readers to know. Ensure the headline communicates this information clearly – make it attention grabbing, direct and to the point.
How can you do that?
• Keep it short – the headline should be no more than one phrase or sentence
• Make it memorable
• Make it eye-catching
• No exclamation points
• Make them ask “What’s in it for me?”
Also known as a “Summary” or “Teaser”, the sub headline is an optional, brief one-sentence expansion of the headline. Don’t repeat what’s already been said in the headline – expand on it.
The First Line
Start with your location and the date. Follow this with the first line. The first line needs to offer something new.
• Why is this news?
• Why is it relevant?
Don’t make your readers search for it. Hit them with it straight away.
This is where you provide product, event or promotion information so a journalist or editor will write a news story or feature about it. All the important details should be in the first paragraph. Like any news story or feature, a press release revolves around who, what, where, when, why and how.
• Body text should be single spaced, with one line of space between
• Use short, punchy paragraphs of two to four sentences
• Keep the press release to a maximum word count of 400 to 500 words
• Use quotes from company representatives and statistics if they’re available
• Always write in the third person – don’t use “me”, “I” or “you”
• Refer to yourself by name, as if you were talking about someone else
• If using multiple pages for your press release, write “-more-“at the bottom of the page and continue
List Company & Contact Information
This section allows a journalist or prospective client to follow up with you should they have any further questions. Providing basic information about your company helps readers discover what you do.
This should be followed with personal contact information:
• Your name
• Phone number
• Mobile phone number
• Fax Number
• E-mail address
• Website URL
• Physical address
ENDS or ###
Typed in bold, “ENDS” or “###” indicates the end of the press release.
If you have extra information a journalist could use, such as recent photos or further elaborations on your main points, put them in a section labeled “Notes to Editors.” Make sure this extra information is included after your contact details.
Proofreading your press release is essential before sending it out. If you don’t and there are mistakes, you can’t turn back.
Here’s a tip that to help you check that your text is correct – read each line backwards, from left to right and from bottom to top. This process forces you to look at each word and number and not skim text you’ve seen many times already.
Photo – http://www.wkihow.com