Writing a Press-Release

press release

In order to announce or highlight an event that could be featured in the media, press-releases are written. It is an important PR tool and writing it well can be beneficial for any company wishing to share news or promote itself.

Steps for Writing a Press-Release

  1. Understand what a newsmaker is; determine for what reason a press-release should be written.
  2. Compose an eye-catching headline. Since media organizations receive many press-releases each day, yours should stand out if you want to get it published. They look for stories that would be interesting for their readers. Thus, a headline should briefly and, in an intriguing manner, represent the main idea of your whole message. When composing a headline, consider your target audience; think if your message will be of an interest for the average reader.
  3. Write a lead. A lead is usually the first paragraph of a press-release and is a short summary of the main body text. A successful lead should answer five basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  4. Compose the main body. The main body of a press-release discloses detailed information about the newsmaker. It consists of 3-5 paragraphs and contains facts, descriptions, dates, and quotations.
  5. Write a background. Usually, it contains the main information about your company, such as the date of its founding, brief history, business activities, and achievements.
  6. At the end of a press-release, the contact information of the person responsible for communication with journalists should be mentioned. In most cases, this is a press secretary or a PR manager.

Topic Selection

When writing a press-release, the most important factor to consider is your target audience and the media organizations where you will send your message. Usually, a press-release is written in such cases as:

  • a company’s opening
  • a company going public
  • the announcement of an upcoming event
  • covering an event which is passing, or has already passed
  • important personnel decisions
  • an emergency

Key Points to Consider

  1. A press-release is usually written on the principle of an inverted pyramid. First, you give the main idea in the headline, then you unwrap it in the lead, which is an extract from the whole message and finally, in the main body, you provide your readers with details, a background, and so on.
  2. A catchy headline is a substantial part of success.
  3. It is better to send your press-release to media organizations at the beginning of a week, preferably in the morning. Journalists may have more work at the end of a working day and no time closer to the end of a week to write news about your press-release, and your information will probably not be so current after the weekend.
  4. A press-release is a document that represents your company and it may be read not only by journalists, but also by your clients and competitors. Therefore, a neat, clear piece of writing, free from grammatical mistakes, will contribute to creating a positive image of your company.
  5. Whatever the field of a company’s activity, a press-release must be written in an informative style.

Do and Don’t

Do

  • Do read articles from well-known newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Guardian. This will help you understand the style which is used for this kind of writing.
  • Do place keywords in your press-release and use them in your headline.
  • Do include pictures, videos, and hyperlinks in your press-release if you send it to online media publications.
  • Do ask yourself several important questions before starting to write a press-release. For whom do I write? What is it about? Is the information presented in it unique? What is the goal of this message? How do I convince the publishing house that this information will be interesting for its wide range of readers?
  • Do specify the theme of the letter containing your press-release if you send it via email. Otherwise, your press-release most likely will never be read, not to mention published.
Don’t

  • Don’t use personal pronouns, such as we, us, I, including phrases like our company; perhaps, the only exception is a quotation.
  • Don’t overuse such words as unique, marvelous, breakthrough and so on.
  • Don’t hope a journalist with the media organization where you send your press-release will make it more interesting and readable; don’t distribute raw materials. Always send only proofread, full, and final versions of your press-releases.
  • Don’t write a huge press-release spread onto several pages. The shorter and the more informative message you prepare, the better. Get rid of unimportant details and concentrate only on the message you need to transmit. However, don’t make your press-release too dull either. 1–1.5 pages is the preferable size.
  • Don’t send your whole press-release as an attached file if you send it via email. You can attach pictures, but the press-release itself should be in the body of your letter.

Common Mistakes When Writing a Press-Release

- Ignoring the structure of a press-release and writing it in a frivolous manner; distributing an inaccurate, raw piece of writing.

- Confusing a press-release with an advertisement. The main goal of a press-release is to give information about a certain event in a way that is interesting, both to a journalist and to a reader, and not to persuade them to buy a certain product.

- Using personal pronouns and various exaggerations.

- Composing long headings that are supersaturated with details.

- Using too many capital letters, as well as bold and italic fonts and exclamation marks.

Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic press-release writing tips and rules, you can check out our press-release samples to link theory with practice.

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Samples for Writing a Press-Release

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