The Press Release How-To Guide, Part 1: WritingJulie MillerMonday, May 20, 2013 - 07:23So your boss has asked you to write a press release about your company's first annual Hawaiian Shirt Block Party. You might query, What the heck is a ...
The Press Release How-To Guide, Part 1: WritingJulie MillerMonday, May 20, 2013 - 07:23So your boss has asked you to write a press release about your company's first annual Hawaiian Shirt Block Party. You might query, What the heck is a press release? A press release is simply a written or recorded announcement directed to the media in an effort to report a newsworthy event. Well that sounds easy enough, but the media need to be able to access and decipher quickly if your document is a press release.
In this post I will discuss how to properly draft a press release so that its intent is recognizable and trustworthy and its content hooks the reader.
Keyword to Keep in Mind: Inverted Pyramid
What does it mean? It means that the main idea of your announcement goes at the beginning of your press release.
Here's an example chart for your to keep an image in your head while writing
Image Source: WikipediaHeadline:
Keep your headline as short as possible while still making sense. Limit characters to around 150-170 in you headline. Make sure you include your keywords. So, with our Hawaiian Shirt Block Party example, our headline might read something like, "Pretend Town's own Festivitee's, Inc. Holds First Annual Hawaiian Shirt Party This Friday"
This goes right before your first paragraph so as to orient the reader. Here's an example of the format, "Pretend Town, Pretend State - May 13, 2013 - First sentence of first paragraph."
You have to expect that this may be the only part of the press release the journalist will read, so put the bulk of your information here and keep it as concise as possible. Be sure this information answers the questions, "who, what, where, when, and why".
The Who is our fake company, Festivitee's, Inc. The What is the first Annual Hawaiian Shirt Block Party. The Where is Pretend Town. The When is This Friday. The Why is to raise awareness for the awesomeness of Hawaiian themed apparel.
Body Paragraph (the "fluff"):
The body paragraph fills the reader in on the other information that is pertinent, but isn't really the main announcement. The body is usually a couple of paragraphs and fills in information such as statistics, background information, names of key people involved, quotes, etc.
About the Company:
Write a short paragraph about the company or person the press release is regarding. Include a link to the professional website.
Media Contact Information:
Include a line with a person's name, phone number, email address, and physical work address so that the media can contact him or her with questions.
The final line should have "# # #" or "ENDS" to inform the reader of the end of the press release.
Remember, press releases are to be newsworthy. Don't write a press release with the intent to sell something - journalists will see through this, and doing so will give you low credibility. Remain honest and focused with your writing and you will see results.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post where I will discuss how to send out your press release to the media.
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