How To Write Your Own Press Release

If you have some news you would like to tell your local or trade press, you could write your own press release.  Naturally for a proper PR campaign you might want to hire a PR consultant but here are a few handy tips from the expert Hazel Scott, Director of Kai Communications on how to write your own…

A press release should always be announcing news otherwise it becomes just a feature article.  News could comprise new products and services, launches, personnel promotions, awards, sales accomplishments, etc.  It is a fundamental tool of PR work, but does require being in a particular format if to be taken seriously.

Before you write your press release:-

~  Consider your target audience.

~  Decide what your news angle is.

~  Decide who your spokesperson will be.

~  Avoid jargon or specialized technical terms.

~  The timing of the press release is very important. It must be relevant and recent news, not too old and not too distant.

~  Understand that this is not an opportunity to glowingly praise your own business, it is a presentation of facts on something newsworthy. Words such as ‘fantastic’, ‘excellent’ etc. should be avoided except in quotes by a spokesperson when relevant.

~  You or your spokesperson must be available for comment, e.g don’t issue a press release and then go on holiday for two weeks!

1)      THE HEADLINE

  • The headline should be brief and eye-catching.  Headlines should be a grabber to attract readers.
  • Headlines should be written in capital letters, bold and in font size 14 preferably.
  • Above the headline you should have the business logo, a second heading clearly marked “PRESS INFORMATION” and the press release should always be dated with the date it will hit the journalist’s desk to give it a ‘today’s news’ feel.

2)      OPENING PARAGRAPH

  • The lead, or first sentence, should grab the reader and say concisely what is happening. The next one or two sentences then expand upon the lead.  In a fast-paced world, journalists will not read the entire press release if the start of the article didn’t generate initial interest.
  • A journalist will make a decision as to whether to read on depending on their interest in the first paragraph (if the headline was interesting enough to make them read the first paragraph).
  • At its simplest, the first paragraph should comprise ‘Who, what, when, where, why, and how’.

3)      THE PRESS RELEASE BODY

  • The press release should be written as it would appear in a newspaper.
  • Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs.
  • Avoid repetition, jargon and over use of fancy language.
  • Deal with actual facts – events, products, services, people, targets, goals, plans, projects.
  • The length of a press release should ideally be no more than two pages. If you are sending a hard copy, text should be 1.5 spaced ideally.
  • Include relevant information about the company such as how long the company has been running and in short what the company does.
  • As soon as possible state the company’s web address, although not in the opening paragraph e.g “The launch of Kai Communications (www.kaicommunications.co.uk) two years ago….”
  • Always have a quote from a spokesperson e.g Hazel Scott, Director of Kai Communications says: “We are delighted to have won this award etc..”

4)      THE END OF THE PRESS RELEASE

  • Always use the words “ENDS” to mark the end of the press release.  Anything after that is only notes for the journalist.
  • Add contact information. If your press release is of interest, a good journalist will want more information and possibly to set up an interview or ask for pictures.  Contact details should include name of contact, telephone number and email address.
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About Sarah Fletcher

Founder of Mushroom Soufflé - Social Media Magic. Public Speaker on Social Media Magic. Social Media Magic Training, Strategy and Management boosting your brand, productivity and effectiveness. Lover of street dance, food, all things purple, social media and life in general! Follow me on Twitter too @MushroomSouffle! www.mushroom-souffle.co.uk
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