Press Release Basics – How to Write a Press Release

Are you preparing to launch a new product, or service? Have you recently, started using press releases? A well-written press release that is newsworthy can generate media exposure, new business, search visibility, web site traffic, and much more.

Writing a successful press release requires you to present your organization and your story with the perspective of news. Step away from the advertiser’s mindset and step into a journalist’s mindset. Cover the interests of your target audience and focus on why they care about your story. Journalists may publish a press release in entirety, but only when it reads like news.

Let’s go over the basics and then review a sample press release format. Following the standard press release format will increase the chances of having your newsworthy event being picked up by the media.

Basic Guidelines

When writing your press release use the inverted pyramid format, placing less important information further down in the release.

Structure your press release in block format by not indenting your paragraphs.
Review your press release and make sure it does not sound like an essay; it should be informative but appealing.

Keep your press release within 500 words; this should be enough to cover your news event and prompt people to take action.

Proofread your press release more than once. Step away after you are done writing and come back with a fresh set of eyes.

Writing a press release requires you to write a persuasive story that will compel journalists and consumers to take action. Our sample press release format is just a guide for the structure of a press release, but keep in mind that any story can be told from many angles. Try visiting the news sections of industry leaders Web sites or go to the newswires and see how others are telling their stories.

Press Release Format

Headline

Create an active and descriptive headline that will capture the reader’s attention. The headline should appeal to journalists as newsworthy.

Summary

Write a summary of your press release that helps clarify the headline, and describes what the press release is about..

Body (Answer the Where, When, Who, and What)

Lead Paragraph

City, State – Month Day, Year – Organization Name – Answer the “what” in the rest of this paragraph.

Include Quotes

After the first paragraph of the body it is a good idea to include at least one quote from an executive that discusses why this is an important news event. Add credibility to your press release; identify the people you quote using their title, and company name in addition to their name.

Answer the Why and the How

The second paragraph of the body should connect the first paragraph to more detailed information about the “why” and the “how” of the news event.

Additional paragraphs should contain supporting information, industry statistics, and quotes.

Call to Action

The last paragraph is where you can make a call to action. This is your opportunity to prompt your target audience to do something.

### (Use three number signs to denote where the press release ends)

Corporate Summary

Include a short summary about your organization.

Contact Information

Include the contact information of a person the media can follow up with. (Name, Company Name, Phone Number, E-mail Address, Company URL)

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When Free is not Free

I am always on the lookout for free services that help on the public relations front so when I found this site PRfree.com I got all tingly inside. So I go to the site and from what I can read it actually is not free.

I despise companies that do this!!

In order to increase web traffic to their website they put free in their name hoping that people will overlook that they are not free and eventually buy their service. I do not get this. If you know of a free Press release distribution service let me know.

Update . . found a great site for free press release distribution

http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/

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Cool New Service For Writing Press Releases

This service evaluates press releases and help you fine tune them. . Awesome Idea!!. . I not used this service yet but I would like the feedback and comments!!

http://www.pressreleasegrader.com/

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