Writing a good press release is not hard, but there are specific conventions you should understand and follow.
Think Like a Reporter
A reporter’s job is to find newsworthy information to share so readers will purchase or view their publication. You can make a reporter’s job easier by writing a good press release that provides the foundation of such information. When you offer this valuable information, it’s a win-win-win: The reporter gets the information she needs to build a compelling story; readers get news they can use; and you get publicity for your organization or company.
Part of thinking like a reporter is knowing what makes information “newsworthy.” It’s easy to think that everything your organization or company does is newsworthy. However, things like simply coming out with a new product or service are not. Yet, a new product or service likely to change readers’ lives or somehow tied to a celebrity, recent trend, or upcoming holiday just might be worth sharing. PR Fuel provides a great list of newsworthy press release topic ideas.
Get to the Point
Reporters are busy people who work under tight deadlines, so don’t waste their time building up to your news. Part of writing a good press release is letting reporters know immediately exactly why they should consider your story. Use the first paragraph to summarize your story and convey why it deserves to be shared.
Provide Additional Details
After the first paragraph, provide additional details that help reporters imagine how they would build the story for their readers. In writing a good press release, consider including the following information:
- What readers can expect from the product, program, or event
- Background information
- Direct quotes from people in the know
- How to get involved
Tell Who You Are
Include more about your business: a brief history, what products or services you provide, customer examples, how you’re different from your competitors, and contact details. This information is commonly known as boilerplate text. It can be used for various purposes, whenever you need to include basic company data.
Use Proper Formatting
Reporters are used to seeing press releases formatted in a particular way. Follow standard formatting (see diagram below) to make your press release more likely to be considered. Keep your press release to under one page and be sure to include these other formatting elements:
- Date – Current date
- Contact info – Make it easy for reporters to reach you on their schedule
- Title – Summarize and draw attention to the story
- Location – The “where” of your story
- The 5 Ws and 1 H – Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How
- Details – Information for people who want to know more
- Company or organization information
- Hashmarks to indicate the end of the press release
What do you consider to be some other keys to writing a good press release? Let us know in the comments.
About the Author: Karen Marcus, M.A. is a Northern Colorado copywriter who has been helping clients in a wide range of industries to put their best word forward for 13 years.
Need assistance with writing a good press release? Karen can help! Click here for contact info.