Writing an effective press release helps get your news noticed by editors.
Getting your information out to the media is easy, especially with the popularity of social media. Getting your information out to the right media may however require a little work on your behalf.
Defining a press release
A press release, sometimes also called a news release, is a short news piece concerning an event, person or other news. It is the bare facts. A press release is not supposed to be the entire article. A news release simply releases some pertinent information to various media sources. It is designed to entice the reporter or news agency to cover the event or research and write a full more intense news article.
Items to include in the release
A press release normally follows a format. Write the release on letterhead, including your company logo. On the left side, where the address would go on a traditional letter, include “Contact Information”. Under this header should be your name, phone and email. Write – in all capital letters – “for immediate release” on the right side, opposite the contact header.
Below that give your press release a title. For example, a press recent press release from Entertainment Industries Council reads: “Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. Supports First-of-its-Kind Service to Help Prevent Suicides.” Notice that, while it reads like an actual sentence, the first letter of each word is capitalized.
Drop two lines. Write the city your company is located in and the date. The example above starts “Los Angeles, CA (PR WEB) December 13, 2011.” The company in this case is headquartered in Los Angeles. PR Web is the public relations distribution service they used and then the date the release was written. If you are sending the release out yourself you would only have the city and date. For example, if I were sending one it would read “Lancaster, PA 13 December 2011.” The only difference here is the date, which is a personal choice. After the date, go straight into the body of your release.
The body of the release
Be sure to include the basics. Give the editor enough information that they will be interested enough to assign a reporter to the story. An editor may also opt to use the release in full as it is written. Answer the common questions in your release: who, what, where, when, why and/or how.
More tips• Be timely and relevant.
• Use the third person tone.
• Think about keywords in your title and article. Search engines will scan for specific words. In the above example, suicide is one keyword search engines will find.
• Hook the editor with your introductory paragraph. Many editors are so busy they only have time to scan incoming releases. Make your intro one that will stand out.
• Avoid qualifiers unless you can substantiate them. If you say your product is the “premiere” product, then prove it.
• If relevant, include a photo. If your release is about a speaker, include a head shot of the person. If it pertains to an annual event, include a shot from last year’s event.
• Give the editor a quote to use. Editors and reporters love quotes. It gives more credibility to the article.
• End your release with a brief informative boilerplate. This is the “about my company” paragraph. This should only be two or three sentences.
• Include your company’s URL address in the body of the release or the boilerplate. Do not create it as a link but rather written out.
• At the end of your release, include the # character centered on the page. You can also type “- End – “at the end of the release.
Getting your release out thereOnce you write your press release, have someone else read it over. A fresh pair of eyes is best at editing. When it is finally ready to be made public, you have a few choices. You can send it to your desired audience yourself, have a distribution service,or combine the efforts. Even if you decide to utilize a distribution service, you should still include news in your in-house publications, your company mailings, your Facebook or Twitter and personally send a press release to your local media as well.