Lots of businesses and community groups have items/news they wish to get in the press, often at a local level. Government and big business also send out lots of press releases, yet the state of punctuation, even in official documents, is absolutely shocking. Please check before pressing the send button.
As numbers of active local reporters have dropped, then a well-written press release can gain you free coverage.
For many people, the idea of writing a press release is a little daunting but is worth mastering because the press has a voracious appetite for content and lots of space to fill. Ready-made news is thus a godsend. If there are photos to accompany the release, then even better!
So, here’s a quick ‘how to’ write a press release:
Start by explaining when the story can be used. Is it immediate or is there an embargo until a certain date or time?
The release begins with a heading, and perhaps a subheading – this needs to be eye-catching and tell the reader what it is about (human interest tends to work).
A lead paragraph needs the hook – what has happened that is special? If you are a new business, do you have a minor celebrity opening it for you, or a special offer? Are you offering a new and innovative product? Have you had a change of image?
Let’s keep the guidelines short and sweet:
- Tell the main story using two or three short paragraphs.
- Provide one or two other paragraphs, containing background information or interesting details.
- Round off with some useful comments or quotes.
- Even the dullest stuff can be made to read well. For example: have you just tripled sales of a certain product? If so, how did that happen? It’s the ‘how’ that will contain/intrigue the human interest.
- Add full contact details for further info at the end.
- Add photo/s.