How to Write a Press Release
This is a question I hear a lot – how do I write a press release? Other common questions include – how long should a press release be? Can a press release include bullet points? How do you issue a press release? How does a press release work?
Before I start answering some of these questions, and leaving others for future blogs, let’s talk about the term press release. You will also hear them referred to as media releases or news releases (which is the preferred term). Digital or broadcast media sometimes resent the word press, as it relates more to print media. That’s why you will hear the term news release.
A press release should tell a story about your product, service, organization or announcement. After all, you are wanting the media to write a story upon getting the press release. If it’s just a dumping of facts and information, without a human element, it will likely be deleted. This is why before you start writing you need to figure out what is the story you are trying to tell.
Who does this impact? A specific audience or demographic? How does impact them? Why should they care? What is the call to action?
Think about the end story you want to see online, in the paper or on television. Then write the press release in a way that will grab the reporter’s attention, get them interested and see the potential story. What is the hook and the human element?
On my website I offer a FREE How to Write a Press Release bundle to help you work through the mechanics and understand how to write a press release the media will actually read. But for the purpose of this blog post, here are some key elements to include. You’ll notice I use bullet points, which you can also use in your press release to highlight information and keep it to the point.
- Lead paragraph – this is your chance to grab the reporter’s attention. If you aren’t interesting here, the reporter will likely not read any further.
- Nut graph – the essence of your story and why you are issuing the press release.
- Quote – providing the personal or human element and introducing your spokesperson.
- Nuts and bolts – summary of the who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Follow up – where the public can go to get more information.
- The end – 30 – signifies this is the end of the public portion.
- Contact information – who the media, not the public, can call to get more information.
All of this needs to be contained in one page. Strongly resist the urge to go over one page. If you desperately feel the need to dump a bunch of facts on the media, attach a facts sheet to the news or press release. But make sure this is a bullet point list this is also no more than one page.
If you’ve written a press release before, I want you to read a couple of examples. When reading, think if this press release was printed verbatim online would it make sense? Does it tell a story? Is it engaging? Is the key information there? If you haven’t written a press release, look on the News section of some corporate websites and critique their press releases.
And please, download my FREE How to Write a Press Release bundle so you go from boring to engaging in your next press release.
This is the first step in getting your story in the media. The next is identifying the media you want to pitch to…but that is a future blog post.