A press release, also commonly referred to as a media release is technically a written statement the purpose of which is to share or communicate information to the press. In the majority of cases, the purpose of a press release is to communicate to members of the press, so journalists, information about a new product, a new business idea or a new venture. It can be about anything newsworthy.
About writing a press release
Before you get started writing a press release, there are a few things to consider and because not many people are cut out to have a communication style appropriate for press releases, PR companies are often employed by the bigger brands and enterprise corporations to have their press releases carefully worded and their news appropriately conveyed to publication houses.
But if you don’t have the resources to hire a PR company for the simple reason that this can be very expensive, you can also write your own PR. After all, who would know more about your business than you?
Press Release Template
A press release is not the same thing as writing a block of text, a sales page or an article for a blog. It has specific characteristics.
If you are wiring on your own, keep it simple and stick to a Word document. To numerate your points, you can use bullet points. Highlight key facts appropriately and break down long paragraphs.
It is best kept relatively short. A general rule is to make it fit on the 2 sides of an A4-sized paper including pictures. Stick to key information and avoid fluff content. Again a press release is not the same thing as a blog entry. The most important information that you want to convey should be high up in your press release.
The distribution date
It should have a distribution date which you should include at the top of your press release. This date should correspond to the date the press release is sent out.
The release date
If you are releasing information to the press, you should make sure you know exactly when your press release will be published. After all, you don’t want a promotion appearing in the paper only that it appears too late and the particular product that was on offer is already back to normal list price.
A heading should be thought of as a newspaper heading. It should be factual but also eye-catching and attention grabbing. A good heading is important because it will encourage people to read your message.
The opening paragraph
In the opening paragraph, instead of an introduction to what your press release is about, it should be more of a summary so that even people only reading that first paragraph and nothing more should get what the press release is all about. Attempt to answer the questions: What? When? Why? Who? Where?
Any PR should at the very least contain one quote from a relevant person. Attempt to make the quote your third paragraph. Your quote should be relevant, of course, but in addition to that, you want to make sure you have the permission to quote the person you are quoting.
In a press release, images play a special role. Visual aids help make your PR more interesting especially if you are promoting a product or a business event. Any image you include in a press release should be compressed. If you choose to send your images via email, keep the email at 2MB or less.
Note to the editor
A note to the editor at the end of your press release is the last opportunity you have to communicate details of your message to the editors. This is normally technical information that you omit from the main message to avoid making it too boring. In this section, you can also choose to write a brief synopsis to summarize what your company is all about.
Your contact details
Last but not least, it should contain your contact information. People reading the press release should be able to get in touch with you if they choose to. Details you want to include at the end of your press release include: your name, a phone number, a mailing address and an email address.
Top tips for writing a good and relevant press release
The 5 Ws
A good press release should answer the 5 Ws at the very beginning to provide answers to all possible questions of readers. The reason for this is as follows: Why should your reader care to read more? You have to give them a reason to.
The inverted pyramid structure
Vital information should be at the very top and subsequent paragraphs only used for emphasis or more detailed information. This structure follows what you would call a declining order in terms of importance and according to space issues, what you share can be curtailed any time without affecting the overall integrity of the press release.
A press release should be newsworthy
If you want a PR actually published, your message should be newsworthy. Put quite simply, a simply profile or synopsis of your company is not going to work but if you are currently planning some kind of event that will benefit your customers then yes, that’s news.
Avoid technical language and jargons
PR are intended for communication with the mass. As such, people who will be reading your message do not necessarily have expertise in your field or industry. Keep the terminology in your press release simple and jargon-free. If you absolutely have to use technical terms, explain what they stand for.
Keep it short and accurate
In a press release, it is best to keep things short. Stick to relevant facts and figures only and avoid literature. Keep that for your blog entries. It is best kept at a length of approximately 300-500 words. Equally important, after you are done drafting your press release, proofread it to ensure accuracy.