8 ways PR pros can write outstanding press releases

Some might say the venerable press release is fading away, but this communicator argues that well-written copy still effectively spreads your news.

This article was originally published on PR Daily in June 2016.

Something exciting happened at your company—and you want everyone to know about it.

You can post it on social media, but that may not reach everyone in your industry. There’s an alternative of far-reaching scope—a well-written press release.

The press release might seem old-school to some, it’s still an important PR tool. It connects to the audiences you care about: reporters, investors and customers.

The press release should only be used to announce real company news—product launches, opening a new office, introducing a new partnership, promoting or hiring an executive or receiving an award. A press release is the perfect way to get the word out.

Don’t just use a template to write a press release. Write a release that grabs your audience’s attention and keeps it to the end, a release that the media pick up.

Create a professional press release by doing the following:

1. Write a good headline. You have only a few words to get your readers’ attention. Make them count. Your headline should engage readers and make people want to know what you have to say.

2. Put the most important information in the first sentences. A reader bored by your first paragraph will not read beyond your first paragraph. Be sure to answer the who, what, where, when and why first.

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3. Grammar and punctuation count. A journalist will throw away a press release marred by typos and errors.

4. Whenever possible, add a quote. A quote adds a human element. Keep in mind that your quote should not be dominated by a dreary recital of facts. It should be conversational and add insight.

5. Avoid jargon and superlatives. Avoid trade or industry jargon. It confuses the reader and makes reporters suspect you’re hiding something. Avoid the superlatives “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking,” “first” and “only.” Like clichés, they infest and overrun ordinary prose; reporters dismiss them. Use statistics or facts, but don’t use filler or superfluous information.

6. Make it short. It should not be more than one page (two pages if it is double-spaced).

7. Include contact information. Give journalists a way to reach you and include your website.

8. Include an “about us” paragraph at the bottom of the release. This basic company info is called “boilerplate.” In a few sentences, tell when the company was founded, where it’s located, what it does and any awards received.

A well-written press release can be the difference between being picked up or thrown in the trash. When you implement these tips, you increase your chances of being seen by more people.

Wendy Alpine is the president of Alpine PR. A version of this originally appeared on the firm’s blog.

(Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, via)


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