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Basics of Writing a Press Release

Updated on October 30, 2012
 

How to Write a Press Release

Sometimes people wonder whether the press release is still necessary in the modern world. That's because so much of information comes from online articles and blogs that the press release to a news site doesn't seem as important as it once was. That's absolutely not true. Press releases (and social media releases which are similar but designed for the online market) remain important for creating a professional buzz about your work in the market today. Knowing how to write a good one can benefit you now more than ever because your competition may not be utilizing this resource to the best of their abilities.

Here are the basic things that you need to know to write a good press release:

Format: The format of the press release should be the same across the board no matter what you're trying to publish information about. You can look up samples or templates to get an exact idea of what it should look like. But basically, you're going to have your contact information on the top left side of the press release. You're going to have a release date (or FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) in the top right side of the press release. Centered beneath those in capital letters will be the headline of your press release. Follow that by a subtitle that describes the headline (also centered) and then the body of the press release. You don't use a signature at the end of a press release; use ### centered at the end instead. Finally, reiterate your contact information below in the form of a sentence ("if you'd like more information contact X at ABC").

Tone: The tone of your press release should be formal. It should be written in the third person. (So even if you are the head of Company X and you're writing the release yourself, you write it in the form of Company X is ...). Ideally, you want to have short punchy sentences that will get the point across and yet be easy to read.

Purpose: Before writing your press release, you need to ask yourself what the purpose is. What do you want people to know about your business? What do you hope to gain by writing this? Your writing will need to be focused around the purpose throughout the press release.

Audience: You want to focus your writing on who the audience of the press release is going to be. Are you sending it to major newspapers? Are you releasing it to the social media to be put on blogs? After you define this, ask yourself what the single most important question this audience will have is going to be. Make sure your press release answers this question.

Get attention: The goal of the press release is to get attention. You're going to do this in a few ways. First, figure out what sets you apart from the competition in this field and do everything you can to highlight that outstanding trait. Second, make sure that your title is as good as it can possibly be. Keep it short and use the subtitle to expand on it. Basically, you want an eye-catching title that people are going to want to click on to learn more. And finally, make sure that you target the right people for sending the release out.

Credentials: Getting attention isn't enough. You need to give your press release some follow-through. The way that you do that is by highlighting the key points about your attention-getting feature. For each point you highlight, mention a credential or achievement that makes you capable of knowing or proving this point.

There are many different tips and tricks for writing a great press release. However, it all boils down to the basics. Stick to the format, get attention from the right people and make sure that your press release is designed around a specific purpose. Those basics have been working for press release writers for decades and continue to work today even though the news market is changing over time.

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  • profile image

    Mohamed Mughal 

    8 years ago

    I like the checklist format of your recommendations for a press release. It's useful. I just used it to double-check a PR sent out by a friend of mine; looks like he followed most of your ideas!

  • Sting-Ray profile image

    Sting-Ray 

    9 years ago from Tx

    GReat article on press realeases. If i needed a press release done on my Liquid Multivitamins blog would that be possible, thanks http://www.LiquidMultiVitaminsBlog.com

  • fdtntie profile image

    fdtntie 

    10 years ago from Chicago, IL

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  • profile image

    ScriptForSale 

    10 years ago

    Well put. You know your stuff and you present it in easily digestable chunks.

    Thanks,

  • MM Del Rosario profile image

    MM Del Rosario 

    10 years ago from NSW, Australia

    this is a great resources for those wanting to write a press release. thanks

    MM

  • SunSeven profile image

    SunSeven 

    10 years ago from Singapore / India

    Thank you for answering my request Kathryn. A wonderful hub with some very useful links.

    Best Regards

  • profile image

    Mcneri 

    10 years ago

    Thanks for this piece. One thing you have not mentioned is who/where to send the press release after writing it. Lol

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