Ten Tips for Writing Press Releases

Posted by johnesposito on May 16th, 2019

One free mention in a newspaper or on the radio is worth ten expensive advertisements because people heed the news when they will often ignore the ads.

The Public Service Announcement and the Press Release are the two best methods of gaining free media attention.  For optimum results your PSA or PR Ten Tips

1.The difference between a PSA and a PR.  

A PSA announces some benefit of interest to the general public.  For example, a restaurant may give free calorie and sodium charts to its customers and others for the asking; or college essay helper give homework, or an accountant may supply a free sheet of tax tips to the public.  A PR may announce the opening of a new business, a new service, or a new play.

2.Finding "newsworthy."

Besides the obvious news of new services, new appointees, and new businesses, there are indirect ways of publicizing your interests.  Consider the people with whom you are associated.  Has your secretary won a blue ribbon for her African violets? (Your company gets mentioned as her place of employment).  Did you contribute a painting to be auctioned at a charity event? (One PSA for the auction, and another announcing the winner.)

3. Passing the "newsworthy" test.  

Ask yourself: How many people would be interested in this? Would you be interested, if it did not concern you, your company, or your cause? If the answer is, "No," don't proceed.

4.The five Ws and the H.

Every press release must tell: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

5. The style.

After gathering all the necessary information, it must be written in "newspaper," or "inverted pyramid" style.  Arrange your information with the most important item first, then the second most important, and so on, in descending order.   Now imagine cutting one paragraph after another off the bottom.  Does the article still make sense and contain the necessary information?

6.The editing.  

Edit your information carefully, removing every unnecessary word, shortening and clarifying sentences until you have condensed the announcement to one double-spaced page, if possible.

  • 7.The heading.

Place the words "For Immediate Release," or "For Release on (date)" in the upper left corner of a standard size sheet of paper.  Add "Pictures available," or enclose one, if suitable.  In the upper right corner put "contact: (the company, title, name, and phone number of the person to contact for further information)."  

8.The title

Drop down several more spaces and write the title of your press release in capital letters.  In a few short words, the title must convey the essence of your story: "RAY'S STORE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS," or  "SCHOLAR WINS AWARD."

9.The ending.  

Conclude with a "throwaway" paragraph -- additional information that is helpful, but not strictly necessary, in case it is eliminated to fit the space available.   Follow that with centered pound signs (###), or "continued on page 2," if necessary.

Make a list of every local news source, and those of surrounding areas: radio, television, and newspapers.  Be sure not to overlook any weekly, monthly, or throwaway papers available in the area.  Phone or e-mail each source to learn to whom your release should be addressed and how far ahead of the event it should be received.  At this time, you may have an opportunity to invite a reporter to cover the event or to conduct an interview.

Finally, give this, and all your writing, the KISS of success -- Keep It Short and Simple!

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