A Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Press Release
Having a career as a press release writer is difficult enough. It’s important to know what you’re doing, or you’ll deal with the backlash of irritated journalists and unamused readers. An abundance of other people’s jobs depends on how well you can do yours. That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders.
Typically, a press release is a one page story, and you should begin an article by heading straight to the point.
What is a press release?
A press release is an announcement which will be distributed to a variety of media and can be in numerous forms; a flyer, a web article, social media post, or radio ad. Depending on the subject of your press news, and where you distribute it, it could circulate on social media and news sources. It must be organized, and sound official and professional.
The headline is the header of your article, like the title of a blog post. Keep it short and the search engines will reward you. Think of it as similar to the subject line in an email. If it’s boring, or if it’s long, it will go unnoticed.
It’s important to use action verbs in your headline in order to grab your appropriate audience’s attention. In most cases, the headline is what’s going to pull your readers in from social media, news media, and search engines. If it’s interesting enough, viewers will click and begin reading.
Recommended: How to Write Incredible Blog Post Headlines.
The Five W’s Will Prevail
The very first paragraph to be read, written by your very capable, legible hand, is the subject of the press release – the who, what, when, where, and why, in that order.
After your irresistible headline is created, it’s time to explain all the fuss. Clarify who or what the release is about, what transpired, when it occurred, where it occurred, and why.
Depending on the type of press release, remember: you’ll have people like journalists viewing your press release. Journalists are busy, no-nonsense people. If the subject doesn’t interest them, you’ve wasted their time.
For all those who read your pressing news, you want them to care, and you want them to share, otherwise, your efforts will be fruitless.
The first paragraph
After the headline, the first paragraph is critical for keeping the reader’s attention invested. Set the scene here. Use lots of action verbs and appropriate descriptions to pique your reader’s interest.
After You Set the Scene
You’ve set the scene, and you’ve painted the perfect, written picture of what the audience is about to read in the rest of the piece. Now, it’s time to bring it all to life with a juicy quote or two.
If you’re writing a press release with exciting news on the business you work for, perhaps a new product launch, the best quotes are ones from company leaders or experts in the industry.
People will want to hear from these individuals, because industry leaders carry higher social proof. Consider asking the project leader, the business owner or manager a few focused questions pertaining to the material in the press release. Get creative and make the quotes worthwhile.
The Final Paragraph
In this part of the press release, you do not want to draw it out. Do not bore your readers. They should already have all the vital information from the preceding paragraphs.
The concluding sentences should give the audience some insight into how the company is currently handling the project, any future plans they may wish to share with their fans, and where people can find more information on the company and their products or services.
A Few Things to Remember
- If this is a company press release, not everyone will know what the company does. It’s important to put that into the release in a short, succinct way. Consider creating a short ‘about section’ at the bottom of the press release.
- Remember to cite your findings if you have data or statistics. Always include links from websites you’ve pulled information from, or the names and relation of the individual’s you’ve quoted.
- Once you’ve completed your draft, it’s time to look into distribution options. Be sure to build relationships along the way to create a distribution platform for future work.
By following this simple formula, you’ll have a fast and easy template for drawing up future press releases, regardless of the industry. Remember to use a catchy tagline, outline the vital information in the body paragraphs with the ‘five w’s,’ and pull it all together with a pertinent, succinct quote.