Press Releases – How to Write Them

What Is a Press Release?

Also known as a “news release”, this is a short news story about your company, service or product. It is usually one-to-three double-spaced pages long and appears in a newspaper or trade journal. It is not an advertisement, but is a short informative account of something newsworthy.

Why Write a News Release?

1. Free publicity – when a newspaper or trade journal editor prints your news story, it alerts the public to your business. And you don’t have to pay for expensive advertising space.

2. Can be more effective than advertising – because a press release is a news story, it has more credibility than an advertisement. Studies have shown that press releases generate more responses from potential customers than ads do.

So people take more notice of your news release than your ad.

Format of an Effective Press Release

Your news release should answer the six journalistic questions:

WHO – Who is the main actor?

WHAT – What happened?

WHEN – When did it happen?

WHERE – Where did it happen?

WHY – Why did it happen?

HOW – How did it happen?

It should also take the form of an “inverted pyramid,” with the most important facts in the first paragraph, less important facts in the second etc. The reader should get the essence of the news release from the first para.

Also, your press release must be:

1 Well timed – must relate to something about to occur or that has just taken place.

2 Brief – keep it short and to the point.

3 Well written – correct spelling and grammar.

4 Factual – keep to provable facts.

Email News Releases That Get Results

Email news releases are generally shorter than hard-copy press releases, say around 450 words.

Line lengths no longer than around 65 characters. And paras no longer than three sentences – much easier, onscreen, to read narrow columns of text and short paras.

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