Before Writing a Press Release
Have a purpose in mind: A press release isn’t a catch-all solution to every problem. If you are going to interrupt a journalist’s time to pitch a story, make sure that what you have to tell him or her is worth their time. Plan out what you plan to accomplish with the press release a while before you start working on it. If the press release won’t help you accomplish the goals and objectives of the your company, then writing it serves you no purpose.
Sometimes your purpose will be for search engine optimization purposes. Even if no newspapers run your story, by posting it on your organization’s online newsroom, you could do a lot to increase your visibility on search engines. People Googling your company may be able to find your press release.
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Know your audience: Bear in mind the people you intend to read the article. A journalist won’t write an article that they think nobody will read. If the press release communicates information that creates real value for readers, a journalist will jump on it. Otherwise, they will probably just toss it into the recycling bin with all of the other press releases they get on a daily basis.
Letterhead: Using official letterhead with your company logo and contact information is a good way to increase the professionalism of your press release. If you are going to send it by email, it is good to include the text of the press release in the body of the email in addition to attaching it as a PDF.
Dateline: Some of your stories will be time sensitive. Major announcements will require a dateline; “perennial stories” (or stories that can be published at any point) will not. Include the dateline after the contact information in your press release.
Body: The body text should always begin with a solid lead. You have one sentence to catch the eye of both the journalist and your future reader. The lead should contain enough information to be interesting while leaving out enough information to keep the reader reading. After the lead, use the “inverted pyramid” style of writing, putting the most important information first and leaving the less important information for later. Be sure to include the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
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It is good to include a lot of quotes in your story. Quotes help to break up long chunks of text and connect the reader to what is happening. Using quotes correctly helps the reader to feel like he or she is there with you, experiencing the story firsthand. Some practitioners put quotes in their own section where they journalists can see them then pick and choose which ones to include.
Boilerplate: Most organizations use a boiler plate at the end of their press releases to give a brief summary of who they are. A boilerplate can include information about what the company does, when they were founded, interesting statistics about them, etc.
### It’s tradition to close your press release with three centered #’s to let readers know that there is no more.
Do you write press releases as a way to promote your business?
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