Writing a press release involves following a specific format and structure to effectively communicate your news or announcement to the media and the public. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how to write it. By following these steps, you can write an effective press release to share your news with the media and the public.
At the top of the document, include your company logo or letterhead, followed by the words ‘Press Release’ or ‘News Release.’ If you are sending it to a newspaper’s news section, it may be better to term it ‘News Release,’ if only for the subliminal advantage. Add the release date and a catchy headline in a concise and attention-grabbing way.
Release date and location
Include the location where the press release is being issued. Typically, this is written in uppercase letters and separated by a dash or comma.
The first line of a press release is by far the most important one. It should contain the most interesting or impressive fact of your announcement. Write a strong opening paragraph that provides the most important information, answering the essential ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how’ questions. This section should grab the reader’s attention and summarise the main message of your press release.
This approach is in line with the well-established principle of news journalism called ‘the pyramid principle.’ Under this convention, the most crucial information comes first and the paragraphs that follow disclose further information is descending order of importance with less critical details at the end. Traditionally, this would allow journalists to cut, and therefore discard, information from the bottom up.
Expand on the information provided in the lead paragraph by including additional details, relevant quotes, and supporting facts. Keep the writing concise, clear, and objective. Avoid hyperbolic or excessively promotional language and stick to the facts.
Include quotes from key individuals or company representatives involved in the announcement. The use of quotes adds credibility and provides a human element to the press release. Attribute the quotes to specific individuals and include their job titles.
If necessary, provide some background information about your company, product, or event. This section can help journalists understand the context and significance of the announcement.
Include the name, title, phone number, email address, and any other relevant contact information for the media or public relations representative who can provide additional information or arrange interviews.
At the end of the press release, include a brief paragraph about your company. This is known as a boilerplate. This section provides general information about the organisation, including its mission, products, services, and notable achievements. It remains consistent across multiple press releases.
To indicate the end of the press release, simply type END or ENDS centre it at the bottom of the page.
Distributing your press release
Once you have written the press release, consider distributing it through a newswire service or directly to media outlets. You can also publish it on your website, social media platforms, and share it with relevant industry contacts. When you are sending it to a newspaper, make sure first to find out who the relevant person is to whom you should send it. This has the effect of making your approach appear more focused and professional; by contrast, sending it in a more generic way can look speculative – or even amateur.
The final touch
Remember to proofread the press release thoroughly for any errors or typos before distributing it. Pay attention to the formatting, grammar and overall clarity of the document.
Read our helpful writing tips here
Check out this article on how to write a press release for the Irish market