Writing a Press Release

How to write a press release in seven steps

This is a shortened version of the excellent article by Kevin Walsh from Copy Unlimited

(Follow this link for the full article.)

1. Hook your reader

All great stories have a hook – and a press release is a story. It may be only a page long, but it has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Have you done something amazing? Launched a revolutionary product? Signed a big deal? Been given an award? Poached somebody from the competition?

2. Create a strong headline

The very best releases – like the very best books – grab readers immediately and don’t let them go.

3. Structure your story

Under your headline, give the essential facts of the story in the opening paragraph.

In essence, it’s the elevator pitch. If somebody read only this paragraph, would they still have a pretty good idea what the story was about? If not, rework it until that’s the case.

4. Explain and simplify

Don’t assume that your readers are familiar with your company, history or positioning. Drop in key facts with a light touch and link them to the story. 

Avoid jargon and buzzwords, especially if you’re writing for a general audience.

5. Remember that less is more

You’re sending the press release to busy editors. They’re writing for busy readers. Everybody’s attention span is reduced by email, social networking, text messages and on-screen discomfort.

So make it short, concise and abbreviated.

6. Wrap it up

All stories have an ending, and a press release is no different, so make sure it doesn’t fizzle out.

7. And finally…

Stop. Don’t send it yet. Instead, do something else (a bit like clearing your palate when you’re between courses). Then come back to it again with a cold, objective eye.

Read the release out loud to see how it flows. Check grammar, spelling, names, phone numbers and email addresses to make sure you’ve got them right.

And then? Get it out the door and move on.

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