Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How to Write a Great Press Release

Here's some free tips and advice on writing a great press release for your PR campaigns....

  • Define the angle. Think about the point of the press release and make sure it covers a genuine news story, with a strong enough angle for it to pass the ‘So What?’ test. If your press release isn’t news, it won’t get published.

  • Popular angles for press releases include the launch of something new, innovative or different, individual achievement or personal life stories, or the results of research or surveys.

  • Write a brief headline of about 8 words or less to describe the main angle or news element of the story. It should grab the attention whilst being informative. The first opening sentence should then be about 15 words or less, and introduce the main point of the story.

  • Write in the third person about your business, not the first person (I, we, our). For example: “Josh Whiten, a local marketing consultant, has published a new free guide to writing perfect press releases”.

  • Build your way through the story in the following paragraphs. Work logically and clearly, leading from one point to the next. Try to keep the overall length to about 300-400 words, depending on subject matter.

  • You can include a quote from someone involved with the story, but feature it about three quarters of the way through the press release. Also, only include a quote if the person quoted is adding something original and unique to the story, not just repeating the rest of the release in quote marks.

  • Try not to get carried away with superlatives. Tell it like it is, and don’t waste words trying to impress. Professional journalists will see through your attempts to ‘wow’ them.

  • Follow the accepted conventions of press release writing. Include the words PRESS RELEASE or NEWS RELEASE at the top of page. Adjust line spacing to 1.5 lines. Use a plain commonly used typeface like Times New Roman or Arial 12pt. Include a margin around the page of 2.5-3cm.

  • End the press release with a word count, date of release, and contact details for the audience and press if these are different. But be ready to respond. If a journalist on a national paper is interested in your story, they’ll expect an instant response from you.

  • Add an Editor’s Notes section after the release. This is where you give general factual information about your business or organisation (not in the release itself) and further supporting information for your story.
It can be hard to be objective about a news story concerning your own business, and even harder to put your story into words. Josh Whiten can help you identify or create newsworthy stories, and craft them into winning press releases. For more information please Email Josh Whiten
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