A press release is an integral part of distributing business news. Not only is it a means of keeping the public informed, it is also one of the cheapest forms of promotion. A successful press release can reach an entire magazine or newspaper audience for a fraction of the cost of an expensive ad campaign. Here are a few guidelines to follow when writing a press release:
Public Relations VS Advertising
Differentiating between advertising and public relations is a great strategy when writing your press release. A press release is not written from an advertising standpoint with the consumer or target demographic in mind. A press release is written for the media in hopes that a journalist will write an editorial piece. A release that is too promotional or gimmicky will lose credibility and most journalists won’t use it. Always maintain a professional press release and appeal to the media by making it as newsworthy as possible.
The Inverted Pyramid
Journalists and writers scanning for stories are doing exactly that…scanning. Keep the most important information at the beginning of your release to ensure that nothing is missed. This means the most important questions should be answered before the third paragraph. Questions like: who, what, when, where, why and how. Avoid unnecessary quotes and superfluous information.
Keep it Short Silly! A press release like any article should not be a complete feature story. Leave it to the journalist to decide whether they would like further information. By keeping your release short you also show you are considerate of the journalist’s time. Limit your release to a single page with about 400-500 words.
Grammar is Key
Ideally, one would hope a journalist would grab bits of your release or the release as a whole to appear in the story. Grammatical and spelling errors are not only embarrassing but completely kill the possibility of that happening. Proofread before distributing your release and prevent carelessness from wrecking your efforts.