Writing a press release

When dealing with “this-just-in” type information, it is important to understand how to write a head-turning press release. A press release must contain substantial information that you consider to be newsworthy and substantial. Relate the news to the audience. Spell out for them WHY it is newsworthy and why they should read on. First describe your news, and THEN tell who said it, etc. Remember that the first ten words in your press release are the attention-getters, thus should be effective. Use what journalists refer to as plain-style language, not fancy words or lots of adjectives. Stick to the facts; avoid fluff. Provide plenty of contact information (the name, phone numbers, fax etc.) for the person with the most information about the story to make it as easy as possible for the media to do their job!

When learning how to write a press release, there is a very simple formula that one can follow. The first line in the upper left-hand corner should read FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, in all capital letters. Then skip a few lines and provide the name of the contact person and all the contact information available. Even the home phone number of the contact person is necessary because journalists typically work late at night to meet deadlines. Your headline follows in bold letters, followed by the dateline that includes the city and the date the release is mailed.

Your lead paragraph is crucial to the success of the press release. It should contain action words that grasp the reader’s attention, as well as answer the five W questions: who, what, when, where and why. The body of the press release should fully develop the topic. Finally, provide a recap to tie together all the details for easy reading and reviewing.